For Easter: Eggs and God
Easter usually means that spring is in the air, but this year, we’re not quite there yet. It somehow seems premature to jump on the spring bandwagon and cook what the food media dictates to be Easter fare. We’re a long way from local peas, asparagus and ramps; hell the maple season is barely upon us (all that snow needs to melt away from the trees before the sap can run). I’m still plugging away with my root veg and put up wild greens, but I do have a ham curing, some fresh rabbit and a big block of Martin Guilbault’s Terre Promise cheese to play with, can’t complain.
Easter is a celebration for most people, but with different religious traditions (or lack there of), it means something different to everyone otherwise. To me, it has always been above all, a time to be thankful for and to celebrate the egg in all its fabulousness! See my previous post, ‘My Easter Ode to the Egg’ http://soupnancy.squarespace.com/blog-journalessays/2007/4/6/my-easter-egg.html
In honour of the egg in all its forms, I invite you to view an egg slide show to get to know some more good eggs.. http://www.gourmet.com/food/2008/03/eggslideshow
And if you’re cooking something for Easter, maybe consider an egg dish..
Some of my favourites in what’s cooking.. http://soupnancy.squarespace.com/whats-cooking-recipes/
Now to my egg epiphany! More precisely, I happened upon a moment of clarity thanks to the egg, as I was cooking up a MEP storm on Good Friday listening to CBC. Gospel music was playing while I cracked my eggs for a bread pudding (with wintergreen, chocolate and wild berries).. I paused to bow to the egg, true to my Easter tradition of egg appreciation, but then I couldn’t help but think that no matter how wonderful the egg is, Easter could/should mean much more to me. After all, I am a minister’s daughter who never goes to church and has a hard time remembering what all the hoopla is supposed to be about besides lamb, ham, turkey and chocolate. So, I got to contemplating God, religion and the universe; the eggs lead me there.
You see, MY GOD IS AN EGG, a magnificent artisanal cheese, a biodynamic wine, a perfect ham. My god is real food pulled from the earth, the alchemy of cooking, a sublime taste, the uplifting scent of wild flowers, the soothing, energizing warmth of a hearth.. Anything that can yank me out of my body, profoundly touch me with awe, turn me to putty and I don’t quite know why. My god is in the marvel of childbirth, the dawn of a new season, a bird in flight, the absolute peace found in nature. My god is the harmony of an orchestra, the bliss of a good meal with friends, the comfort of a meaningful exchange or embrace. It’s the exaltation of being struck by beauty, moved by art, connecting with words, or being high on life. My god is the whole truth, the missing link; my god is love, grace, serenity and hope. My god is care, thoughtfulness and trust, the glory of giving all of oneself, feeling gratitude, being humbled, feeling lucky, honouring integrity. It is the power to create, to receive, to dance. My god is also the sound of an anthem in a crowd, what I feel in a church and at the hockey arena; and definitely, my god is all of Leonard Cohen’s hallelujahs.
My god is a real force, but not a being in our image, not a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ or a ‘Jesus’ or a ‘Mohammed’, not even a higher power. My god is all that is beyond our grasp, what eludes science and all our constructs. It is the struggle between good and bad in all of us, the intangible, and the inexplicable. It is soul, intuition, faith, hope, healing, instinct, and the placebo effect. It is what we refer to as nuance or ‘je ne sais quoi’, it is what makes a carrot healthier than the sum of its nutrient parts. It is what makes people use words like wow!, fate, soul-mate, spirituality, karma, guardian angel or devil (most of which I despise).
My god is all that we inherently know to be important and true but don’t and maybe can’t know; it’s the thread that binds us.
I am surprisingly fine with this kind of all encompassing and impossible-to-pinpoint god, mainly because life has taught me the limits of our human design. The study of cooking, biochemistry, anthropology, math, physics, chemistry, philosophy, art, etc., not to mention the school of real life and hard knocks all offer up some incomplete truth.. They are all legitimate paths that eventually require us to take a leap of faith, to accept something or just believe because it feels right. We all instinctively know there’s something more. We need a god, so we find one however we can, bring it into our heart (or let it free), put one foot in front of the other, hopefully do some good and sleep better at night.
I’m not sure about that last one, but still.. Some kind of belief system can be a settling and powerful thing. Besides, I hear it’s very positive for longevity and for the community. I also hear that meditating is the end all, but I can’t do it for the life of me. Let’s just say that I am not spiritually predisposed. I never cared what happened in other solar systems or where we go when we die; to me there is so much right here-right now to figure out - priorities right? Nor am I puzzled by the fact that life isn’t fair. It doesn’t bother me that we might have originated from a random explosion of elements and that everything about our life is random. I am all for positive thinking, but I always felt that praying was kind of bogus and weak.
Nonetheless, I do have my questions. Being a student of the sciences before anything else, I once thought math could explain everything, and I was way too logical to ever be open to the idea of gods, angels, out of body experiences, psychics, or even psychology for that matter.. The ultimate power of nature, the success of biodynamics are parallel examples that may have recently helped awaken me. Listening to a scientist (labelled quack) named Rubert Sheldrake on Ideas positing a force field that connects all living things was a tipping point (something else!) for me. Maybe a lot can yet be explained by science, but my gut tells me that there will be no end; we will never really ‘get it’. I know enough to know I know nothing. What I think and feel now is as good as anything.
I’m nowhere near reading horoscopes, but now that life as a cook has brought me in closer touch with my senses and to natural phenomena, I now tend to take my brain less seriously, and am more sensitive to all kinds of inputs. As a result, I feel an octave more alive, like I’m able to see things more clearly and believe more freely. I am ripe for a god of sorts. I no longer need to understand everything, but I do still need to compartmentalize my experience, to rationalize faith, and really, I just need to address the elephant in the room for once and for all. Let me call it God.
Heavy stuff you might say. I, on the other hand, feel light as a feather. I’ve rarely had such a good day cooking.. The bottom line is that appreciating an egg is taking one step closer to God. Happy Easter!