Every Recipe Offers a
Pathway to Community
The ingredients are here, with us and among us. Very few
ingredients are rare or unimagined. Most are commonplace.
Whether savory or sweet, hearty or light, every meal holds the
potential for bringing forth love and hope. With each meal we
make we reaffirm the existence of a world house. Recipes come into reality
by people repeating the basic yet glorious task of sustaining life. Everywhere
around the planet, the task is to arrange the ingredients and put them
together in ways that unify and construct cohesion and cooperation. It is
no accident that corporate fast-food chains provide unhealthy ingredients
that are put together in exploitative ways. The purpose there is profit. The
purpose of putting together ingredients for a meal with family and friends is
health and happiness.
Humanity risks great peril when food production and consumption become
separated from the protection and promotion of worldwide unity of action.
The good news is that each time we prepare a meal we can become more
conscious of our part in a global, interconnected, and interdependent network.
The students’ reflections tell a story of their own conceptualizing pro-cesses.
They have learned that conduct creates character and from character,
consciousness blooms. Conduct that unifies and brings together develops a
character that produces a broader consciousness, an awareness of others.
Conduct that disunifies and segregates creates a character that produces
narrow consciousness. If one’s conduct is primarily disunifying, that person’s
character creates a lack of consciousness. In some cases, the conduct is so
disunifying that the person cannot see their own interest; they cannot act, or
work, or vote for their own economic, social, and political interests. Conduct
that brings unity, cohesion, and integrity constructs community.
After the meal is over, the dishes done, and before we go about our
days, permit a moment to visualize our own conduct that produces unity,
wholeness, and happiness. The students did not start the recipe exchange
process thinking of it as a metaphor for doing community-building work
that can heal the nation and promote justice and democracy. Nor did
“ With each meal we make we reaffirm
the existence of a world house.
Recipes come into reality by people
repeating the basic yet glorious task
of sustaining life.”
they think the actual work of exchanging the recipes, organizing family
and friends, and taking responsibility for preparing meals would lead to a
unifying, energy-boosting excitement.
Dr. King calls for “a revolution of values.” His recipe includes identifying
the internal realm and the external realm. The internal is the goal for our
lives, the “why we live.” It is composed of art, literature, food, language,
clothing, ritual, poetry, theater, and religion. The external realm is “how
we live.” It includes our jobs and what we do, paychecks, and material
possessions. King’s directive stems from his view that we have allowed the
“how we live” to overtake the “why we live.” A revolution of values will flip
this formula, and a focus on the conduct that addresses the “why we live”
will bring about justice, peace, and democracy. From the distractions and
diversions in our lives, we must put something down, and from the hope
for community and justice in our lives, we must pick something up.
Dr. King affirms, “Our hope for creative living in this world house that we
have inherited lies in our ability to re-establish the moral ends of our lives in
personal character and social justice. Without this moral and spiritual
reawakening, we shall destroy ourselves in the misuse of our own instruments.”
62 FROM A KITCHEN IN THE WORLD HOUSE