Fragrant and warming, a small pinch of ground cardamom added to breads, cakes, teas, and coffees can create an altogether new flavors and turn the mundane into something magical. But it was a lust for spices in the East that sewed bitter threads into humanity’s historical narrative. “Spices quickly became an emblem of power for Medieval European elite, a taste that in just a few centuries would change the world,” writes Kendall Vanderslice for Christianity Today. The quest to satisfy this lust “included the quest for a sea route to India that proved devastating to the indigenous people of the Americas and that paved the way for European colonialism.”
In Vanderslice’s reflective essay on the power of food, she explores how a story of injustice often lurks in the shadows: “While our foodways taste of the magnificence of a creative God, they also bear the scars of people and cultures harmed through power wielded cruelly along the way.”
But in food, there is also hope for reconciliation, particularly in how we share a table, and especially in the Eucharistic feast: “It is a meal that captures a story, the story of Christ’s death, resurrection, and promise of return. It is a meal that provides a point of contact for Christians around the world, united by the elements of Christ’s body and blood. But its purpose is not simply to fill us with the bread and wine so we’ll hunger or thirst no more; it is to deepen us in relationship with the Bread of Life and with all who take part in the feast.”
Read the entire essay here.