Picnics and Tomato Sauce
On the way to 5 Senses to Prayer Book 2 - #19
We’re at the beginning of something new. It’s the start of a brand new year.
There’s something about marking endings and beginnings that invites us to take stock, to be grateful, to dream a little and to start afresh. My new year reflections are never very formal or structured but I still like to find some time for pausing and thinking on the year that has been and the one that is yet to come.
My new year has begun, as it always does, enjoying the company of family and friends and the warmth of summer. I’m very tired after a big year so I’m enjoying the opportunity to relax and a daily agenda that revolves around sleeping, swimming, walking and eating. Pizza oven or BBQ are the two main methods of cooking as I’m chief dough maker. I love the rhythm of kneading dough. It’s a reflective process that leads me to prayer. There’s writing time in this holiday space, but it’s writing without pressure. Ideas swim in my head and I enjoy following these wherever they might go. Some of them will appear here, others will appear in other publications and some writing will never be read by anyone other than myself. There is relaxation for me in writing without purpose.
Today’s prayers are both for summer days. For those in colder climates I invite you to set up a picnic spot in your living room floor or wrap up warm and chase the sun outdoors… or perhaps you can return to these prayers when it’s summer at your place. I’m feeling very summery so it’s hard to not celebrate this season, so thank you for indulging me in my tastes and smells of summer. I’ll likely be continuing this summery vibe for the next couple of weeks. The first of today’s prayers is about the tastes of summer. A classic summer meal in Aotearoa whether a picnic, fish & chips at the beach or a BBQ, will likely involve tomato sauce so I offer you my own serving of tomato sauce.
The way our brains process sensory information is interconnected and our senses don’t operate in isolation of each other. The second prayer is based as a smell prayer but is connected to taste. At this time of year eating outdoors is a daily occurrence unless the weather is particularly wet or windy. Food eaten outside tastes better than food indoors. It’s all to do with our sense of smell. Eating outside in fresh air changes our perception of the flavour of food. Fresh air acts as a flavour enhancer. I think that our faith acts like a flavour enhancer to our ordinary lives and the second prayer invites us to reflect and offer our gratitude to God.
May God be with you this New Year and throughout 2024
On the journey
Tomato Sauce Prayer
Sense of Taste – Thanksgiving (T.TA.7)
Tomato sauce (or ketchup) can be one of those ‘must haves’ for many people. Some like to have it squirted on everything and they get so used to the taste, that the only time they notice it, is when they don’t have it! For such fans, going tomato sauce-free even for one meal can seem like a big problem. Dip a hot potato chip or a sausage into tomato sauce. Eat it and while you enjoy the taste, give thanks to our God who is everywhere, all the time, interested in our small and seemingly insignificant trials and joys but often forgotten about or not noticed until things are going wrong or we are missing something in our lives.
Getting ready checklist
Tomato sauce or ketchup
Further suggestions and adaptations on using this prayer
Prepare some picture cards with images on them of things your participants are likely to eat with tomato sauce or ketchup. (eg. Fries, Sausages, Hamburger, Meat Pie, Fritters…) Have instructions asking participants to look at the images and choose which ones they’d eat with tomato sauce. If it is possible you may like to have some food for sampling so participants can dip the food into small cups of tomato sauce or ketchup. Provide small takeaway sauce cups and a bottle of tomato sauce/ketchup for participants to help themselves and pray.
Use this prayer when you next have a meal where you need tomato sauce or ketchup. Turn your ordinary meal into a prayer.
Invite participants to bring along something that can be eaten with tomato sauce or ketchup or alternatively, has either of these as an ingredient. Share the prayer idea before sharing food together. As you eat and dip your food into the sauce pray together.
Set up several stations around your space with some simple to prepare hot food which is traditionally eaten with tomato sauce such as fries. Have a few volunteers working through your gathering handing out small portions of the food and a small disposable cup of sauce. Remember the focus is on the tomato sauce/ketchup so your food portions can just be a small taste. Introduce the prayer before the food is handed out so that once they receive the food they can begin to pray where they are seated or standing