From Bless this Food, a prayer suitable for the Thanksgiving season:
So once a year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song,
In thankfulness of heart
- Arthur Guiterman
When I first heard about Bless this Food: Ancient and Contemporary Graces from Aound the World, my thoughts wound back two our two daughters. As youngsters they would come to the dinner table seemingly prepared with a litany of sorrows. Someone had done them wrong, a teacher was as dumb as a hammer, so and so had worn this dress with those shoes. It seemed there was nothing in their lives for which to be thankful.
In total exasperation, my wife and I decided to instigate a simple grace, "Dear God, bless this food and all of the people around the table. I am thankful for ...", and then we would go around the table. Each person had to have something to contribute. They could be thankful for a new friend, a good mark, or even just that the napkins were folded nicely, but they had to be thankful for something. After lots of push back, and lots of insistence, we finally hit a stride that continues to this day.
Bless this Food is a compilation of 160 graces from various cultures and times, with accompanying text describing the origin and context of each prayer, demonstrating just how much food unites people of all cultures.
While Bless this Food is an interesting and at times uplifting read, the initial promotion I received suggested that it would be suitable for family sharing. I found it to be overly intellectual and dry. It would certainly be all but unapproachable for younger readers. For adults seeking a greater spiritual understanding, a fresh outlook, or knowledge of their own heritage, Bless this Food could be a worthwhile read.
NOTE: Due to hardware problems, I couldn't include a direct link to Amazon. I will solve that as soon as possible.