Wise women have said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I believe it.
When Nate and I got married, he came to me from a childhood of his mother’s creative cooking, a woman with a lavish cook book collection that she used daily. As a newlywed, I realized I’d have to learn to cook if I was going to make my man happy.
Fortunately there was an effective buffer between Lois’ high-class dinners and my incompetence in the kitchen: university food.
Nate’s memory of those childhood meals dimmed as he ate in college dining halls from 1963 until we married in 1969, and his expectations were wonderfully low.
After 40 years of cooking thousands of meals for him, I remember only one word of criticism. I’d made a teriyaki stir fry, one of his favorites, but the sauce had turned out thin. So I used a tip from Mom, adding a bit of corn starch to thicken the juices.
When Nate came to the table, he saw what we were having and said, “Mmmmm. Stir fry!”
We all sat down, heaped food on our plates and dug in. Nate had already eaten three forkfuls by the time I took my first. “My word!” I said. “What’s wrong with this stuff?”
That’s when Nate’s criticism came. “I kept trying, because I couldn’t believe it tasted so awful. What did you do?”
“I have no idea,” I said, walking my plate toward the disposal. That’s when I noticed I’d inadvertently “thickened” with baking soda instead of corn starch. After we’d all enjoyed frozen pizza, we had a good laugh over my culinary error.
Although I never did become a skilled cook, I did learn one valuable principle preparing meals for a big family each day. More important than flavor, smell, ingredients, or presentation was volume. Everyone was happier with a full stomach, and filling them up became my #1 priority. Not having enough was worse than having only some of a perfectly balanced meal.
This principle works well with spiritual eating, too. We can hold out for a gourmet feast: a peaceful place to read the Bible, a blank notebook, a pen that works, and a set of commentaries. We can wait to pray until we’re sure of uninterrupted time. But if we do, we’ll always be on the edge of spiritual starvation.
God is sure to deliver soul-food-nourishment as our appetites for him grow. And as long as we continue to eat with him, he’ll make sure there’s always enough.
Scripture refers to its words as milk (for beginners) and meat (for the more advanced) and encourages us to taste it. So apparently the old adage does have some truth to it: the way to a person’s true heart is indeed through the stomach.
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” (John 6:27)