There’s been a small, but perceivable, shift in my thinking since our first Noumenia. A shift that revolves around food that circles around to my ancestors’ conversion to Christianity. How did I get from Point A to Point B? Let’s do this in a list-order stream-of-consciousnesses style, shall we?
- Eating more locally grown fresh food has been on my mind a lot for several years. After all, I am completely surrounded by orchards, vineyards, and farms that grow everything we need. The question is, “How do I get a hold of all the fresh produce goodness that literally grows across the street?”. I found the answer on this website, aptly named Local Harvest, and better yet, I was able to convince Gaius we need to do this. So, starting at the beginning of next month, I am going to sign us up to get a box of fresh seasonal produce from a local farm weekly. It’s a small step, but an important one. I’ve also found farms that make olive oil, sell nuts and other fruits, and a meat farmer. Now, the meat thing will have to wait because 1) it’s $8 a pound, eep! and 2) it’s set up to store the meat in your freezer. I’m not a huge fan of freezer meat so it might end up being a waste for us. Gaius did agree that maybe we can look into buying fresh meat from them for special occasions (Noumenia, anyone?). This small step we are taking to eat more locally falls neatly into this little gem of a challenge…
- Unprocessed Food October. Of course, I found out about this at the very end of October, but that doesn’t mean we as a family cannot do it next month. I ran across a similar idea about a year ago spear headed by one mom and found it inspiring. I’m starting to be more aware of what I feed the family and see this as a logical next step in creating a healthful home. Looking through my pantry, we do have processed foods that can get tossed. Thadd is already not too crazy with the meals-in-a-box I fix when I’m too busy/tired to actually cook something.
- My crazy ultimate idea of having an unprocessed kitchen would be taken to the extreme of making all of my flour (need to figure out the correct ratio for the best bread flour), making all of our pasta, and baking all of our bread. It’s a huge task and one that I’m clear-sighted enough to know that it won’t happen over night. But my Christmas list is already forming to help me reach my goal: pasta making accessories for my pasta roller (and drying racks), an oat roller, and whole oats. All of this thinking about what is processed food, what isn’t. What should be in my kitchen and what shouldn’t be gets me thinking about…
- Kosher/Halal/ and other religious dietary restrictions and what that looks like for a Polytheist. Recently I had a really interesting conversation with some Sisters about this very subject which led to some new knowledge (such as: did you know in some customs that “meat” is defined as an animal that creates milk? Therefore chicken and fish aren’t categorized as “meat”) on the subject. Of course, it got me thinking about what a religious diet would look like for a modern Pagan/Polytheist. I cannot speak for everyone, but here are some of my thoughts:
- Separation of blood and veggies/fruit. For me, “meat” is the product of any animal that produces blood. And in my mind, blood should be kept far removed from non-blood producing food like fruits and veggies. How far removed? Should there be separate dishes, utensils for their handling? For me, I wouldn’t object to that. Should they not be ingested during the same meal? Well, no. We all need fruits and veggies with our meals. That would be silly (and unhealthy). I would love to see meat drained of all its blood before consuming.
- Eating as much fresh/locally grown food as possible. It’s healthier, fresher, and supports our local farmers/local economy. Also, growing as much of our food as possible is good. This also goes for making as much of our food as we can from scratch.
What would you add?
With the talk swirling around dietary restrictions and with Dios de los Muertos coming upon us, my thoughts naturally turn to my ancestors and I find myself pondering
- What if ancestors converted to monotheism willingly? I know, it sounds like a huge leap to go from food to Christian conversion but I’ll try to walk you through my thinking process.
Kosher and Halal are dietary restrictions of two of the three major monotheistic religions. Using them as a template, I’ve often wondered if a devoted, pious, orthodox/orthoprax Pagan/Polytheist should adopt a similar system. Every time I pose the question to Them (namely Hera and Hermes), I get the answer “You do not come from the Desert People, but from the Mediterranean. Their ways are not your ways.”
Pretty straight forward answer, really. From what I get, if I wish to have some sort of system in place, make one that makes sense to me in the here and now and not one that was created for a culture that I am not a part of (neither genetically nor spiritually).
That got me thinking about the people I do come from. Namely, they were Northern European (Norse) with some evidence that they once were Greek and Roman. I do not come from the Desert People, and yet, at some point in my families’ histories they adopted said people as their own. Was it by force? Was it by conviction?
Does it really matter? Yes, in a way it does matter. We are being called to honour our Gods; the Gods that many of our ancestors worshiped before Christianity (After all, every Christian cannot be directly descended from the Hebrews that converted). When you got that far back, you have thousands of ancestors that can span the world (especially if you are biracial). Some of your ancestors would have converted through true conviction while other ancestors were converted at sword point. We, as Pagans/Polytheists, put a lot of lip service honouring our Pagan/Polytheist ancestors and the ones forced into conversion. But, how many people stop and think about the ancestors who truly believed in the new religion from the East? Shouldn’t their convictions be just as honoured, acknowledged, respected? I think so.
I’ll never know the stories of how my families became Christian, but I’m fairly certain there were at least a few that were true believers. Still, I don’t come from the Desert People, therefore I am not held to a restrictive diet. That doesn’t mean that I, and all of us, shouldn’t start thinking about what we eat. If our bodies are temples, let’s make sure we only give it the very best offerings and libations we can.
Extra linkage love:
Interested in learning more about religious diets? Check out EatOcracy.
What are your thoughts on this?