I'll tell you, it's really difficult eating all this chocolate to prepare for my round-up. I mean, really, there's only so much high-quality, ethically-created, sustainably-sourced dark chocolate one girl can eat before....she moves on to the next bar.
I knew I would get chocolate tonight, because it's Friday and it goes so nicely with wine and relaxation. I'm currently composing this post in what will surely become a fruitless effort to avoid "seconds" on tonight's Taste Test - Equal Exchange Very Dark Chocolate.
I'm not going to say much about it right now, else it would nullify the point of a chocolate round-up (coming soon, I promise!), but I want to share the thrilling experience I had actually purchasing the chocolate tonight.
There is a wonderful, independent natural foods store near my home, Essene Market. In addition to consistently stocking my favorite brand of seitan and providing a tasty and innovative salad/hot foods bar, they have an impressive array of chocolate bars: Dagoba, Green & Blacks, Endangered Species, and Equal Exchange bars, and in every flavor imaginable! Tonight, I went over with ever intention of leaving with a banana and a small dark Green & Blacks bar, but when I saw that Equal Exchange was on sale, I knew I had to give it a try.
Even now, it sits on my table, beckoning my return.
Before I give in to Friday, though, I wanted to share an article my mom photocopied for me from the November 2010 issue of Christianity Today about the recent obsession with quality of food. The title of the article is "A Feast Fit for the King" and it was contributed by Leslie Leyland Fields.
In the article, Ms. Fields discusses the shift in focus lately, provoked by documentaries like Food, Inc, books like The Omnivore's Dilemma, and far-too-frequent food recalls brought on by unsafe conditions ultimately poisoning our food supply. She examines eating as both sustenance and as righteousness.
Obviously, she can't finish the article without pointing out that righteousness can only be achieved through Christ and not of our own efforts, but there are many thought-provoking asides along the way there. Ms. Fields notes that one of the driving forces, whether we realize and admit it or not, behind what she calls the "new food movement" is our desire to somehow make ourselves better through the way we choose to fuel our bodies.
It has long been my view that more Christians should be vegan/vegetarian, and would be if they really thought about it. Perhaps that is why the new food movement is gaining such ground and leading to such innovation in food sourcing, eating, and cooking. If you care about the world, God's Creation, if you will, it should be natural that you would want to protect and preserve it by whatever means necessary, short of harming another part of Creation.
Although Ms. Fields praises the new food movement for making a strong stand on eating and [otherwise] consuming ethically-sourced food, she brings up one of my favorite justifications for not making the decision to forgo meat and whatever else you'd like to lump into the Undesirable category: orthorexia. She provides a pretty extreme example, but I really wish people would stop thinking of people who give a crap about themselves and the world around them as diseased or unhealthy. I don't want to eat dead cow that's been injected with drugs I wouldn't take if they were prescribed to me. I guess that means there's something wrong with me.
The bottom line of this article is that people appear to be making an attempt at righteousness through restrictive diets. I can't stand behind that as a condemnation (only of their apparent attempts to achieve righteousness/purity without God's help). I can only stand behind it as a cheerleader, encouraging people to actually make an effort to care about the world in which we live. We (humans) have been blessed with so much: a huge star at just the right distance to heat us and grow us and not [necessarily] kill us; intelligent minds, capable of creations and innovations beyond most peoples' imaginations; countless varieties of food that is nourishing to our bodies and when done right, helpful to the land's fertility. We are so fortunate that we have the opportunity to choose whether we will eat vegetables or Cheetoes, Kit Kats or lentils. I hope you'll read the article, but what I want you to take away from it is gratitude that we can make these choices to care for our bodies and for our world, and how very wonderful it is that so many new people are making those choices every day.