Taste and See - Discovering God through butchers, bakers, and fresh food makers.
In-person Bible/Book Study is scheduled for November 1 and 8 at the church.
Henrietta Online Bible/Book Study
Welcome to our study of the book, Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers, & Fresh Food Makers by Margaret Feinberg. We’re glad you’re here!
Your host for this study is Pastor Joyce Hoile. I’ll be leading you through the book with questions for you to ponder and discuss with your friends and family. I’ll also be scheduling some meet-up times where you’ll have the opportunity to chat with each other. Meet-ups are optional because I know your schedules and locations are all over the place, but if you can come, I’d love to see you.
I will do my best to update this age by Monday each week for the next chapter. The previous chapters will remain posted so you can go at your own pace. If you have questions for me, you can reach me through the church.
Let’s Get Started: To begin, you will want to purchase or borrow the book, Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers, & Fresh Food Makers by Margaret Feinberg. It was published in 2019 by Zondervan Publishing and is available on many websites, but if you would like to support local businesses, most local book stores can special order it for you with little wait time. Large book stores would probably have it as well. Local libraries are also often able to get copies for you to borrow if they do not already have them.
If you have trouble finding it, I do have 2 copies available for people to borrow.
You may also want to have a journal to make notes as you go. I have a few of these available if anyone needs one.
Once you have the book: Please look it over and read chapter 1.
Questions to ponder or discuss: (Note, many of these will be appropriate for family conversations around the dinner table or during a road trip, and this is accessible for children and youth as well as adults.)
What are some of your favorite memories surrounding food or meals?
Did you have a favorite food as a child? What was it, and what made it so special to you?
Did you have any special treat foods that you enjoyed? What were they?
In the Bible, what foods do you remember being mentioned?
Scriptures to consider: Read Matthew 18:20. “Margaret Feinberg describes that many of the miracles Jesus performed and lessons he taught took place around the table.” [Taste and See Bible Study Leaders’ Guide, p. 18]
Which stories do you remember where Jesus taught or performed miracles? Which ones involved food?
Do you relate to any of these stories? Why or why not?
If Jesus were your guest for dinner or a quick snack on the road, what do you think that would be like? What would you talk about? What might he tell you? What would you want to tell him? What food might you share?
Prayer for the week: Lord, we have come to your table. Open our eyes to see your presence with us. Open our ears to hear what you will teach us. Bless the food that we will eat this week and bless all of those who helped prepare it. Bless our time together as we make discoveries in the next few weeks. Amen.
Week 1 An Invitation to a Culinary Adventure
In this first chapter, as mentioned briefly above, Margaret Feinberg has the inspiration which led to the writing of this book. She explains how dinners with friends – conversations shared, hospitality experienced, and memories made caused her to reflect on the meals and foods mentioned in the Bible.
You have already done some thinking, talking, and pondering about memorable meals, so let’s move forward. I will be using the Taste and See Leader’s Guide for our study and will quote the resource when I directly use what the authors have written.
Your first activity is inspired by the Leader’s Guide. It is evening, and you need to make dinner. The only items currently in the house are an orange, a pound of ground chuck, a small bag of rice, a loaf of bread, seven celery sticks, three carrots, and some spices. You do have running water as well as a stove and microwave. No food delivery apps are working, and you have no transportation to a store. What will you make for dinner?
From the Leader’s Guide, p. 19
“Look up the following passages and note who accompanies Jesus during meals.
Luke 5:27-32 Luke 7:36-50 Luke 11:37-41 Luke 14:1-6 Luke 22:14-31”
Take some time to reflect on the people wo were with Jesus in these scriptures. Journal your thoughts and reactions. How many of these people would be welcome at your table? Why?
Prayer: Creator and Sustainer, God, open our minds to new ways of understanding the food you have provided. Help us to remember others in the meals we prepare for ourselves and in those we prepare for others. Amen.
Week 2 Delighting in the Sweetness of Fruitfulness
When you go to the store, pay attention to the fruit and produce. What are some of your favorites? Are there some that are new to you? If your budget will allow, buy a few of the new and unusual fruits and try them. Ask, or go online and find out more about them.
If you are doing this with friends or family, have them bring some of their own and have a tasting together. What are your favorites? What do you not like?
What fruits seem like they have been part of your life forever?
Read the following scriptures and consider the way figs are used or referred to in these passages. What does this mean to you?
1 Samuel 25:18 1 Samuel 30:12 1 Kings 4:25 Micah 4:3 Zechariah 3:10
After reading this chapter of the book, how would you define fruitfulness in life, especially in the Christian life?
Try one of the recipes for the figs chapter. I especially enjoyed Carolyn’s Salted Caramel with Fig Sauce.
Say a prayer to close your time with this chapter.
Week 3 Chewing on the Bread of Life
Make a list of varieties of bread. Which have you tried? Which are your favorites and why? If you have time, make or purchase a variety of breads and see which are your favorites and which you could do without. Does putting on butter, jams, jellies, or possibly savory toppings make a difference in how they taste to you?
Jesus is often referred to as the Bread of Life. Margaret Feinberg asked a number of people what type of bread would Jesus be? What do you think?
In what ways do you remember bread being used or mentioned in the Bible?
Leaven is an ingredient or process that helps bread rise. Most often these days, we think of using yeast, but there are other ways to do this also. Read Matthew 16:6-12. How is leaven a part of this passage? What does this say to you?
Read Matthew 26:26-30 and imagine yourself present in the story. How would you feel? What is touching each of your senses? Sight, sound, taste, touch, smell? How does that affect your experience of that time and place?
Closing Prayer: Pray for those in our community and around the world who do not have access to bread or other foods to nourish and sustain them. Pray for yourself and your community for all of the challenges that keep us from living into a world of peace and harmony. Ask God to continue to reveal to you how the foods of the Bible impact your life of faith today.
Week 4 Savoring the Salt of the Earth
How many different kinds of salt have you heard of? If possible, get some salt that is unusual to you. (I’m going to try the pink salt Margaret mentions in the book.) What differences do you see in the new salt compared to common table salt? What are some different uses for various salts? Why do you think there are so many types and varieties?
Read Matthew 5:1-12. What does it mean to be the salt of the earth? If we are the salt of the earth, which type of salt are you? What are your uses? Why is this usefulness important to the Kingdom of God?
Salt can enhance or ruin the flavors of a dish. How can we, as followers of Christ, end up doing the same? What do we do to enhance people’s understanding of God? How can we ruin or harm people’s understanding or experience of God?
If you are not on a low-sodium or restricted diet, try one of the recipes from the salt chapter. The cookies were my favorite.
Closing Prayer: As you close your time, ask for God’s presence to lead and guise you as you go forward. Ask for opportunities to be the salt of the earth to others who are yearning to feel and know God’s presence with them. Speak to God about those things weighing on your heart and ask for wisdom, comfort, and guidance as you move forward.
Week 5 Relishing the Olive and Its Oil
Do you like olives? Which kinds/varieties? What do you like about them? Have you used olive oil or flavored olive oils as a dipping sauce? How did it change or enhance the flavor of the items being dipped?
In reading the book, what surprised you about olives and Margaret’s experiences harvesting them? What surprises, if any, did you discover about the benefits of olives and the processing of them?
In the study guide, Margaret mentions that, “The olive reminds us that in that which looks dead, there remains life.” What does this mean to you? How have you experienced this in your life or seen this be true for others? Is there hope to be found in this statement?
Read 2 Kings 4:1-7. What do you see in this scripture that speaks to you? Who are the key players in the story, and how is God actively at work? Although not a key point in the story, it is interesting to note that jars were gathered from throughout the neighborhood. There would have been quite a variety. How does this aspect of the story speak to the importance of community and variety?
On page 126 of the book, Feinberg gives some background of olives and their history. Did you know the history of olives in America? What other information was interesting to learn or relearn? How does it affect your view of olives and their uses?
On page 130, she reflects on olives as ‘healing agents’ and on their use in the Temple. What scents, oils, or creams are healing to you? What energizes you?
Olive oil is often used for anointing. Have you ever been anointed in a prayer service or other setting? What feelings do you remember from that anointing?
To close, write down ways in which you would like God to be at work in your life or the lives of others to bring healing and/or peace.
Closing Prayer: God of all creation - Healer, Creator, Restorer – renew us today. Work in our hearts, souls, and bodies to renew and refresh us. Bring healing wherever it is needed. Work through your church, Lord, to heal others and bring them into a deep loving relationship with you. Holy Spirit, move within us and energize us for the road ahead. Be a balm for us in our need and nourishment for us as we move forward in your ways. Amen.
Week 6 Rediscovering the Liturgy of the Table
For this session, make one of the recipes from the book – or, if you are doing this as a group, have each person bring something.
Say grace before you eat.
In the Study Guide, Margaret Feinberg points out that, “When we give thanks, we can’t just give thanks for the end product, we need to consider the whole process.” What were some of the things you learned about the various processes of growing, raising, and processing the foods we eat? What were some of the things that surprised you the most?
In today’s society, especially in urban and suburban areas of the United States, there is often a huge disconnect from food available in the grocery store and the actual production of that food. Although paying attention to the source of their food is of growing interest in many of those communities, the realities of food deserts, and scarce resources often complicate matters. Those in more rural areas like Henrietta often know the farmers personally and are quite familiar with how the animals and crops are raised.
What are some ways we can extend this knowledge to others?
In chapter 8 of the book, Passover is celebrated, and Margaret reflects on the importance of the celebration as well as the elements of the feast. Which elements were familiar to you and which were new? How does this knowledge inform how you picture the Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples?
On page 170 of the book, Ido’s wife brings out the dessert – “a double chocolate ganache cheesecake.” Margaret, who has been asking about the deeper meanings of each portion of the meal once again asks for the symbolism of this dessert? Her guide, Jack, answers, “It’s cheesecake, Margaret. It’s just dessert.” How often do you find yourself searching for something so deeply and intensely that you miss the joy and wonder that is right in front of you?
Treat yourself to something you love just for the joy of it. (Food or otherwise)
Closing Prayer: Taste and see, Lord. We’re told to taste and see that you are good. That you are steadfast. We know your promises are true. Help us to savor the flavors of the foods in our lives. Give us an appreciation for those who grow, nurture, and harvest our food. Let us see your goodness and provision in each morsel. Lord, as we gather with friends and loved ones for meals, let us feel your presence at our tables. And, Lord, when we are eating alone, may we know the presence of Jesus with us. Amen.
In-person Bible/Book Study is scheduled for November 1 and 8 at the church.
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