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Have You Eaten?
stories about fried chicken and rice, and why food is about more than just survival and pleasure 

MY FAMILY LOVES FOOD.

When my mom visits me in Los Angeles, she has to get her fill of In-N-Out, pastrami burgers from Tops, and Korean barbecue.

When our family visits New York City, we plan our entire trip — and where we stay — around ramen (Ippudo or Totto), pizza (Lombardi's or Grimaldi's), and dessert (Dominique Ansel Bakery or Donut Plant), as well as any new places our friends have suggested.

When our relatives are together, we're already planning where we're going to eat dinner while we're still eating lunch!

On one particular trip to NYC, we found ourselves stuffed beyond comprehension. And yet, we were told, we had to find Questlove's Hybrid stand (now closed) in Chelsea Market to try his fried drumsticks and "cream and crab dumplings" before we left.

There was nothing wrong with the chicken or the dumplings. The color was right, the smell was good, but somehow, it didn't taste like anything. In fact, I could barely take a bite of each item before I had to put it back down. 

As good as Hybrid's food was, it was missing a key ingredient. And it reminded me of the French proverb, "A good meal ought to begin with hunger".

No matter how good the food is, if you're not hungry, it's not going to taste good. And conversely, even the simplest of foods taste divine when you're starving or have just exercised. 

I've often wondered about what it means to be hungry, especially whenever a worship service features Kathryn Scott's lyrics, "Hungry, I come to You for I know You satisfy". 

I'll fly across the country to eat good food. But do I hunger for God like I do for good food? Do I crave the presence of God in my life?

Or have I filled myself so much with a safe Christian environment and good Christian people that I no longer desire more, that I no longer yearn for that taste of God's goodness? Can I even recognize how good God is, with all that I consume?

I want to be hungry, so that I can truly enjoy the goodness of God in all of God's glory. Just as good food begins with hunger, being able to taste God's goodness begins with hunger as well, the understanding that there is something better out there. I want to be able to desire more, to truly experience God's Word as sweet to my lips and refreshing to my soul.

Otherwise, God's goodness can be as tasteless as celebrity-cooked fried chicken and dumplings on a full stomach.

Welcome to our issue on food. Pull up a chair, take a bite, and taste not just the goodness of God's creation and the fruits of culinary talents, but how good God is. 

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