As a Scot living in Australia I have been known to joke that there are two types of cooking in Scotland: Fried and deep fried! - from deep fried pizza to deep fried Mars Bars! I grew up in a home where the food was anything but fancy. Mince and ‘tatties’ was my favourite. Sunday roast was the closest we got to fancy food. Though of humble origin haggis would be classed as fancy! Though I had progressed to a few Indian curries beforehand it wasn’t until I left for Canada at age of twenty that I began to sample fancy food.
What makes a food fancy? Surely preparation has a lot to do with it. Mutton dressed up as lamb would describe an attempt to make the plain look fancy. I must admit that a lot of what they do in fancy restaurants is wasted on me. A big plate with a few zig-zag lines of sauce with a tiny steak with a couple of colourful veggies balancing on it may be pleasing aesthetically but I’d rather forgo art for volume!
Daniel and his three mates opted for veggies over king Nebuchadnezzar’s wine and royal delicacies. On a surface reading it would appear that Adam and Eve ate only fruit and veggies. When Noah and his family exited the ark their diet certainly included wine, fish, fowl and animal flesh. The people of God were introduced to certain dietary laws from the time of Moses. These are listed mainly in Leviticus but were abrogated when Christ fulfilled what these and other of the ceremonial laws typified, i.e., Christ and what He was coming to do.
The people of God complained in the Wilderness years about the food God was supplying them. ‘Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic, but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing except this manna before our eyes.’ Numbers 11:4b-5. They preferred the cuisine of captivity over the food of freedom. They would rather sup with Satan than dine with the Deity. As with the dietary laws regarding clean/unclean animals and seafood, they were undiscerning. They were missing what the Lord was teaching them. Babies receive milk before they receive solid food. ‘And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal’ 1 Corinthians 3:1-3a.
To be carnal is to be worldly which is the opposite of heavenly, but whether milk or solid food, whether plain or fancy, whether fried or deep-fried, whether grilled or done in an oven, Christians give thanks to God, for His is the hand that feeds us. Thus God is the source of our food. Before I became a Christian I used to wonder why Christians thanked God for their meal. I used to think that it was my hard work that brought home the bacon and put bread on the table. However, this is what is meant by being carnal. It is to fail to see God’s hand in it. Our creativity reflects the Creator. The fancier the food the easier it should be to see or even taste the God behind it. ‘Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good.’ (Psalm 34:8a) takes on a deeper meaning when the palate is stimulated by good food. It makes us thankful. Thankful to whom? The chef? Partly. However, it ought to make us thankful to God.