ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Saving Grace

Updated on January 26, 2010

From time immemorial, people of every religion have invoked prayers, blessings, and words of gratitude for the food they eat. These days, however, you don't see as many people bowing their heads... certainly not in McDonald's. In giving long, hard thought to the decline of the family meal, and indeed, the decline of community, it occurs to me that the slipping away of ritual may be a cause as well as a symptom. Reinstating some version of grace before meals may be a partial cure.

Grace Is Not A Conventional Ritual

I am not a person of conventional ritual. My rituals tend to be familial and personal. I do, however, give thanks for my food. I am deeply aware that there are many who do not have enough. When a tomato is ripe from the sun, with a somewhat acrid and pungent smell and sweet-acid perfection of flavor, I am grateful. When I find food without pesticides, grown with nature's fertilizers, I give thanks to the conscientious farmers. When a cook has taken the time (or just paid enough attention to quality) to serve me something that has real taste, not simply something fancy, I am delighted.

Teach Children Grace

Children should be taught to stop and savor what they were eating, to take the time to appreciate it rather than to stuff it down as fuel and necessity, a home-served version of fast food. Children raised in such a way will probably not join the overweight, the bulimic, and the anorexic among us. Their greatest risk is that they might turn into little gourmets, and that, I would argue, is a good thing. If children are around while the food is being prepared, doing homework at the kitchen table, they may also learn that cooking is normal and easy. That would be a very good thing.

We Grace Ourselves

The observances of food and table can also lead us to pay attention to the significant social and political questions inherent in what we eat. Food is the single greatest economic and political reality: Ten percent of the population is on food stamps; the hospitality industry is one of America's largest service industries; the production and transportation of food is one of the largest economic activities worldwide. Food is also about the continued health of our planet. So it is that by taking food seriously we can grace our planet and our civilization as well as our own lives.

Grace Is About Style

Grace is more than a ritual; it is an expanding force that reaches out to those around us. Grace is also about style. We talk about "the graces," meaning the arts. We must extend that ideal to gracious living, not in some dated sense of tea gowns, servants, and the right silver, but as expressed in the preparation of food made with a sense of pleasure and a sense of giving. The cook offers health and well-being, a respite from the harried pace of most of our days, and the opportunity to enjoy and pay respect to the recurrent realities of food and one another.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)