Is there such a thing as a Pagan relationship with food? What I mean by that is this: many monotheistic religions thank God for the bounty He has provided, creating what I call a monotheistic relationship with food. They thank their deity for giving them sustenance. Do Pagans, then, have a Pagan relationship with food?
I’ve been realizing more and more lately that I take food for granted. This seems wrong to me. Food is the means of life, it is the reason we can keep living and functioning. Without food we die (we die faster without water, but I’m putting liquids in with the category of food). I think this attitude of taking food for granted comes from the capitalist mindset many of us have grown up with. I know that at any time of day or night, I can go out to a store of some kind and get more food, generally any kind of food I want, especially if I live in or near a city (which I do). I know that if I run out of food in my fridge, I can always go find more. I consume without thinking twice about it.
Since I’ve begun doing metaphysical work, I’ve been having the realization of just how much I take food for granted. I never said grace at the table before unless my Christian family did so. While I do not throw away good food, if something goes bad in the fridge it never bothered me when I ended up throwing it away except in the fact that it was money wasted. And when I chose the Pagan path, it never occurred to me to say a grace or a thank you because of the consumer mindset and because it reminded me too much of the Christian traditions I had left behind.
I think a Pagan mindset toward food would include thanking the food (whether vegetable, fruit, or meat) for giving up its life in order to give us life. I think this because many Pagans consider any thing to have an energy, especially when it is obviously living (i.e., the difference between a stone, which is not obviously energetic, and a plant, which obviously has life). A plant has a life force, though different from a human’s life force. By eating that plant, or fruit, or animal, we cut off the life force, the energy, in order to ingest its energy and provide ourselves with life.
We could certainly thank a deity for the bounty, especially one tied to the earth (or thank the Earth goddess herself), but I think a lot of the thanking goes to the food itself and the sacrifice the food made in feeding us than it goes to a deity.
I would be interested in what other Pagans think on the subject. What are your thoughts?