06 April 2017
For the Christian, food is never just fuel, and cooking is not mere necessity
I was disappointed to discover recently that St Euphrosynos, a patron saint of cooks, was not a man who loved food. He seems to have cooked “from obedience”, rather than from a genuine love of the thing. This bothers me because the ascetical impulse, which he demonstrated in abundance, is not the opposite of the pleasures of the flesh, but its complement. In this season of abstinence, it is easy to forget that the real meaning of fasting is feasting. The Bible’s favourite picture of the uncontainable vitality that God wills for us is a banquet. God’s blessing is “marrow and fatness”, “oil”, “milk”, “honey”, “bread”. In Andrei Rublev’s famous icon of the Holy Trinity, what are the Holy Three doing together but sharing a meal?
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