Blessing Your Food: A Book Review

Blessing of FoodYa know when you make a resolution?… And you really mean it?… And then you’re reminded a year later about your important goal and realize you didn’t even come close to meeting it?…

I wrote a post last and shared my brilliant plan for bringing a family dinner tradition into my home:

We have our girls three nights a week when things are relatively “normal.” At least one day a week, I want us to eat in the dining room with no TV but perhaps a bit of background music … I hope we can talk, laugh, and inspire each other like I did with my family back in the day.

I’ve failed miserably. But I’ve found new inspiration.

I received a copy of a nifty little book — “Bless This Food: Ancient & Contemporary Graces From Around The World“. The author, Adrian Butash, has published a collection of blessings that people around the world and across time have used to thank their “higher powers” for the gift of food. West African, Egyptian, and Pawnee Indian graces. Christian, Hindu, and Muslim graces. Blessings used as early as 1500 B.C. and those still common today. All are represented. Mr. Butash introduces the book with the statement that “food blessings connect all mankind.” He writes about the cultural importance of people sharing food and the significance of the family as the “core of life.”

Amen to that. Prayer 13 is one of my favorites.

Prayer 13’s Blessing

If beings knew, as I know, the result of giving and sharing,
they would not eat without having given.
nor would they allow the stain of meanness
to obsess them and take root in their minds.
Even if it were their last morsel, their last mouthful,
they would not enjoy eating without having shared it,
if there were someone to share it with.

— Teachings of the Buddha (fifth century B.C.)

You can search the blessings by first line, religion, or country. And you can learn how to give thanks in sign language. How cool is that? He’s even included translations for “bless this food” in 19 languages. In Spanish: “Benedita sea esta comida.” In French: “Bene ce repas.” And in Swedish: “Valsigna maten.”

We’ve started saying one of these prayers before dinner… In front of the TV. (Oops, still work to do on my 2012 resolution!)

Food is a gift. When I was young, we had a dinner bell that hung on a plaque painted with the following blessing: “Good Bread, Good Meat, Good Gosh, Let’s Eat.” What’s your favorite way to give thanks for the gift of food?

Image Credit: Woman Praying via Shutterstock

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