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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

winner winner chicken dinner

A mildly inappropriate entry to ring in my first week of Meatless Mondays... be patient with me, it's not going where you think it's going.

Last night I was cleaning a chicken for dinner.  The heart was stuck way up inside the bird's cavity so I had to reach in deep and pull it out.  I stared at the little heart in my hand thinking, "God, this is gross."  But it made me think.  This heart used to beat inside a little bird's chest.  This chicken had a life.  She ate corn, ran around, pecked at other birds...  Several months of chicken-y moments culminated last night when my family and I gobbled her up in about 25 minutes.

My family has never said Grace before dinner (except on big holidays) but last night I had an overwhelming urge to offer some praise.  There are so many people and animals to thank for the food on our dinner table.  Of course the chicken, the cow for milk and butter, the soil for green beans and potatoes, the farmer for, well, everything.  The truck driver for delivering the food, IKEA for my cute place mats, my husband for sponsoring the meal, and God for allowing it all to come together in this amazing Universe.  So we all sat down to eat and I suggested we take a moment to give thanks to our formerly-feathered friend...  then two of my kids started laughing hysterically and screaming like banshees.  I guess they thought thanking a dead chicken was funny.  And the "Leave it to Beaver" moment slipped away. 

The point is threefold.  One part being, it takes an incredible amount of effort (and carbon emission) to bring a meal to the table and Grace gives us an opportunity to BE aware of it.  Two, Grace doesn't have to be hokey and isn't reserved only for Bible Belt Baptists.  If you didn't grow up doing it, like me, saying Grace before a meal may feel awkward or manufactured; but there is conscious value in its tradition.   The final part, sometimes the gratitude is there but circumstances do not allow us to give thanks the way we envision.  Kids melt down, partners are late, rice burns, red wine spills across your treasured white Italian tablecloth...  It's okay.  We can try again tomorrow.

Do you say grace at home?  How do you do it?  Who do you thank?  God?  Allah?  The butcher at Whole Foods? Please share your own experiences or ideas - anonymously or otherwise.  Inspire the few hundred people who read this blog!


If Family Guy can do it, I can do it!  :-)


  1. V, growing up we always said a very traditional grace before meals and I thought it was a little "old" for my kids so we started saying something new......"Thank you God for happy hearts, for rain and sunny weather. Thank you for the food we eat and that we are together. Amen!" Keep on blogging!!! xoxox DF

  2. We give thanks every time thewhole family eats together, maybe 4 times a week. We give thanks for our food and pray for the ones that are not so lucky and ask God forhis blessing.

  3. thank you for these great comments! i love the rhyming prayer, denise! so sweet! i made salmon and mixed grains tonight so we gave thanks to the fish and the farmer and to God. PG was totally obnoxious throughout the short process but at least we made it to the end this time. Will try your prayer tomorrow! xoxoxoxox

  4. Before dinner we always go around and say one thing we're thankful for that day. We started this tradition out of a desire to slow down and recognize all that we do have and not get caught up in what isn't go so great in life, and also because cultivating feelings of gratitude is good for your emotional health. Certain family members have a few old standbys (I'm grateful I don't have a lot of homework, I'm grateful it's the weekend, I'm grateful school wasn't that boring, I'm grateful I got to play 2 hours of video games) but at least we're doing it, and over the years once in a blue moon he/she will surprise us with something a little deeper. Not that often, but like I said, the point of the exercise is to just slow down for a moment before we dig in. Sometimes we grit our teeth (when we hear the video games one...) but we don't want to be critical, it's about the process...! :)

  5. here's our grace: god is good, god is great, god he gave us chocolate cake. yea god! amen. (somehow that also is his bedtime prayer if he says one.) since he can remember it and loves to say works for us!