I spent a good part of yesterday in my kitchen cooking homemade Indian food. It’s one of my favorite ways to relax. It really is! Focusing on the complex recipes means I have to let the other things racing around my mind fade to the background or my food won’t turn out right.
I love my Masala Dabba (Indian spice container) and 20+ whole spices. I love taking my spice grinder and experimenting until I find the perfect chai blend. I love the fact that a recipe tastes different if you add the cumin first, or later on, or if it’s roasted whole or ground up. I love the way simple ingredients like lentils can be elevated into art. (Yes, they are that good! As a friend of mine quipped, it makes you sympathize a bit with Esau!)
I love dropping cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon sticks into warm oil. The entire kitchen fills with the most incredible smell! Ah, cinnamon! Cinnamon fascinates me. In savory dishes it adds a warm sweetness. In chocolate or other sweets, it adds a kind of peppery depth. It’s been cultivated and used for thousands of years. It’s mentioned in the Bible as part of the sacred anointing oil for the priests.
How did it get discovered? Did some ancient person notice a lovely smell coming from a tree and think, That smells good enough to eat? What did his family think when he presented his stick-filled stew? Just try a bite Honey, really, you’re going to love it!
When I roast and grind and chop and sauté and simmer, and all the ingredients begin to be a meal, I can’t help but praise God for His creativity. If you think about it, all food really needs to do is to give us the proper combination of nutrients, protein, calories, etc. God didn’t ‘have to’ make it tasty, too! He didn’t have to create the incredible variety of spices and herbs and vegetables and fruits and… well, you get the idea!! He didn’t have to create cinnamon. But He did!
That gets me thinking out past my Masala Dabba. Thinking about the other gifts our Creator God has given us which are so far over and above the necessities of simply existing. Even in its fallen state, the whole earth is full of glimpses of God’s creativity. He delights in beauty and variety and allows us to delight in them, too.
Thank you, Father, for Your rich blessings. Thank you for the infinite ways Your creation declares Your glory. Thank you for duck-billed platypuses and orchids and baby giggles and frozen waterfalls and yes, trees with aromatic inner bark.