This video of John Perkins, chef of Entre, an underground restaurant, is so beautifully made I had a hard time listening to the words (which, given the masculinist language, was actually not a bad thing). I could watch it again without the words and just enjoy the dance of bowls and ladles and knives and cabbage and onions and tall slices of quivering pie.
But there were some words that caught my attention; Perkins relayed a story of reading in a cookbook that salt lets food taste more like itself. He said he liked that point, because (a) he agrees with it, and (b) he thinks it relates to the Biblical call for Christians to be salt and light. His reflection on that was that
Viewing life through the lens of the biblical story allows things to be more fully true than viewing life without it.
Well, he had me with the salt metaphor. But I had a little trouble with his reflection. I don’t think viewing life through the lens of the biblical story lets things be more fully true; I don’t know if anything humans do can “let” something be more fully true. I think truth is more like light; the more we open our eyes and our apertures and our hearts, the more truth we can perceive. Looking through the biblical lens can help that process, by challenging us through exposure to others’ stories and insights and wisdom; but it can just as easily retard the process, by constraining what we allow ourselves to see and know.
Call me a relativist, if you must, but I would prefer to think of myself as welcome at all tables, and learning from every taste. Tonight, for instance, I will gather with a local interfaith group; depending on who shows up, there may be Buddhist, Baha’i, Muslim, Hindu and/or Christian folk. Something wonderful will happen; because we will listen, and speak; taste, and share.
So, let’s go back to the salt … what lets food taste more like itself. I’d like to be that; I would like it if — by the quality of my listening and my love for those I encounter — that you can be more of who you really are. That would be truth enough for me.