I grew up with a Mum who cooked like a storm. No cookbook needed. Just a cheeky look in the fridge and she knew what was possible. She’d chuck this and that in a pan or in the oven and do some magic and out would pop a tasty and good for us meal. (even tho we hated the eggplant)
My father, in contrast, was quoted multiple times saying “Whoever taught me to read, taught me to cook” he was all about picking out awesome recipes and trying new things. But his logic was, the book guided him in creating great food. After a few years of cooking for large groups of people every Sunday, he has gotten to a stage where he himself would admit (as well as everyone else) that he can now cook. Not just read.
A cookbook is written to guide people towards creating and eating good and specific food.
A cookbook is not the food itself. The cookbook is also not the writer itself. The point of the cookbook is the destination. If a person can already cook, they don’t really need the cookbook outside of just the enjoyment of staring at nicely photographed tasty foods or for ideas. But even for a good cook, especially for a good cook, the book itself is irrelevant. The food is the point of everything concerning the cookbook. the COOK part of the book.
It was written by and to a specific audience.
The cookbook is not a car manual. And although there’s probably a small chance that you could use the cookbook to repair a car, that was not its intended purpose.
The cookbook is not a book of poetry written to elicit specific emotions out of us, or to shake fists at an unjust government. Although, some of the photos can be poetic, and if read poetically some of the recipes could sound quite… creative.
The cookbook is not a medical instrument, useful for opening chest cavities to heal a broken heart. Although if you sharpened the cookbook enough, maybe you could paper cut deep enough to find blood. But that heals no broken hearts, and cuts out no cancers.
The cookbook was not written to babies. Babies should not go anywhere near a gas oven. It was not written for the blind, as it is not in brail and it has no audio partner. If it was written in English and not translated, then it was not really written for Italians, although some of them could learn.
Some measurements weren’t written for certain parts of the world. Some ingredients can’t be found as readily at sea, and if you don’t have a melon baller… you can’t ball melons now can you?
The bible is similar. The bible was not written to Jeremy, the white Australian male in 2017. So it has to be translated, and contextualised, and thought about, and dialogued with. The bible was not written separately from the spirit of God, the Fatherheart of God, the man/God/creator of everything Jesus.
The bible is NOT God. The bible is NOT the cake. The bible is NOT even the cooking. It is definitely an arrow to the cooking. It definitely refers to the cake. But it is neither of these things. And someone, like my mother, doesn’t need a recipe to make good food. And someone like my Dad sometimes needs a recipe, but after awhile doesn’t need a recipe. He doesn’t need to quote the recipe. He doesn’t need to know the recipe off by heart, because he KNOWS how food works. He has done it before. My mother KNOWS what is tasty for us. My last meal with them before leaving this time was a roast lamb, because I don’t get lamb in Lithuania so much, and I LOVE roasts, and she is great at cooking them.
She didn’t need a recipe. She didn’t need to carry the recipe around with her. She didn’t have to fight with other people to see how much better her reading of the recipe was or is or has been. Her roast was delicious and it brought us all together for a fun night.
The bible is like a cookbook. And if we are creating delicious food, we don’t need to memorise the family tree of a whole bunch of dead kings. If we are gathering people around tasty meals, we don’t need to set up walls around our private club to prove to God that we are the faithful and the other club down the road isn’t so faithful. Or that our pictures of food are better than their pictures of food.
The pictures of food are so basic. When love is tangible and life changing. When the taste of a perfectly ripe apple gets into you. When a song brings you to tears, Or the creator of the world speaks to you uniquely… the pictures of the food is such a basic thing to fight over. Such a basic thing to die on a hill for. Such a basic vanilla thing to lose friends and family over. Especially when the pictures themselves… the bible itself, says explicitly the same thing. “you search the scriptures and they point to ME” that me was/is a man. A tangible 100% human/ God figure who exemplified being in peoples lives for the intentional purpose of life giving friendship, well communicated community building and ultimately, victory over death.
A cookbook cannot defeat death. So why hold up flags, and sing joyous songs and fight to the death as if it can?
The projected picture of a rose, is not a rose. It has not smell, it has not texture, it’s not real. The rose is a rose.
The stories of Jesus, whilst great to read and know, don’t have a smell, they don’t have texture, they aren’t real.
Jesus is real. Love is real. But until faith becomes sight, the cookbook stands as a reminding arrow pointing to the real Jesus. And it needs to stay an arrow not the food.