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Do you want ants with that?

Walk into any bookshop now and one of the biggest sections you’ll see is the one with all the cooking and recipe books.

Over the past decade or so, we’ve gone foody mad, and you can now buy books promoting every type of cuisine and a few others you’ve never heard of.

There are also books on cooking techniques and cooking with limited ingredients or one pot, as well as books based on one ingredient in all recipes (for example, the Vegemite cookbook).

Committed Christians can even purchase The What Would Jesus Eat Cookbook, which includes recipes for the type of foods Jesus may well have eaten and information on the sorts of foods and grains Jesus would have been familiar with. (Oddly, this book doesn’t include Vegemite.)

The first verse of Matthew 3 says that John the Baptist was preaching and baptising in Judea at the Jordan River and that he ate locusts and wild honey. Oddly – or not – some cookbooks cover both of these, for example, Bugs for Beginners (an eBook released in 2018) and The Fresh Honey Cookbook (Storey Publishing, 2013).

I’m not sure that locusts and honey would cut it for me. I’m a big fan of honey but chewing on a crunchy insect doesn’t really get the taste buds tingling. On the other hand, it sounds pretty lean; it’s hard to picture John the Baptist being a man of considerable girth if he was basing his diet on tiny insects with almost no meat on them.

Speaking of which, I like my meat too much to stick to honey and insects. I also like fruit and vegetables and chocolate and ice cream and donuts and milkshakes too much, but that’s another matter.

I went on a diet once, but it didn’t give me enough food, so I went on two diets at the same time, and that worked better. I wasn’t hungry anymore. Neither worked; however, I didn’t lose weight.

The Bible offers some warnings against gluttony and also says that my body is ‘a temple of the Holy Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 6:19), so I just figure, logically, the more body, the more Holy Spirit I can fit in. I don’t eat to satisfy myself: I eat to become more holy.

The Salvation Army is well known for eating. Perhaps not to outsiders, but I’m one who grew up attending regular corps lunches, morning teas, afternoon teas, suppers and picnics. I knew who, in my corps, made the best apple slice, who did the best curried egg sandwiches and who made the best fruitcake.

Once, as a young man, I was given some fish for dinner and realised I didn’t know how to cook it. I just rang up one of the old ladies in the corps (the grandma of a mate) and said, “How do you cook fish?’. She told me, and it tasted great!

So don’t just stick to honey and locusts, there’s a whole range of foods and recipes waiting for you. And if you don’t know how to cook something, just ring someone’s grandma – they’ll tell you.

– Major Mal Davies and his wife Major Tracey are the Corps Officers at Adelaide City Salvos


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