The annual professional food photographers’ international competition is a feast for the eyes. In a photograph of anchovies swimming in champagne, you can almost feel the fizz in your mouth as each bubble sparkles. It competes with one of mussels lit up in a heavenly haze. Jean-Louis Bloch-Laine, France’s leading food photographer, says “culinary photography is no longer there simply to show what the meal should look like but to whet the appetite, to transport the taste into the mind.”
That’s just as true of presenting a meal as it is of photographing it. Any chef or cook wants to create a meal that looks as well as tastes good. But visual gorgeousness isn’t enough. A meal which is presented with every attention to aesthetic detail yet tastes indifferent leaves the diner unsatisfied. Ancient wisdom remains valid – the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
During Lent, Christians remember Jesus going into the desert. He wanted time to review the various ingredients that might make up his life and decide what God wanted him to create out of them. The wrestling and struggle he experienced there gave him integrity. What people saw in him reflected who he was inside.
Lent is a time for us to review what makes up our lives. The choices we make, how we live, love and grow, what we long for, are some of the ingredients. This book will encourage us in the coming days to savour again those things which make our lives taste good. But it’ll also remind us that what we serve up in our lives can’t just rely on the ingredients or good presentation. We want to create from what we’ve been given lives of integrity and depth, lives which give us, and offer others, a real taste of what’s good about living.
Read: O taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34.8)
Rejoice: that our lives present us with so many experiences to learn from.
Reflect: Is there anything about me that’s more show than substance?
Remember: that God understands my inner strivings and can help me make the best of them.
Resolve: to notice what’s going on inside me as well as how I feel on the surface.