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Return to Ritual in our Food Ways (Part 1)

Gursha is an Amharic word that translates to mouthful. What gursha is defining is a food ritual in which one person feeds another. It's an act of communal feeding and sharing of nourishment. Gursha is love. In the act is the idea that the bite you share is the best bite, the choice bite. What a full and simple act! When I first learned of gursha it made such sense in the realms of food, family and community. The act speaks to connection and moving in abundance; giving of what you have so that it becomes more than the mine, but the we.

Our food based rituals are how we preserve time honored traditions, and in my opinion keep the sanctity of our cultural foodways intact. They are our reminders of who we are and what and how we do. They are the preservation techniques to get us through lean seasons. They are our nourishment and medicine to keep us fit and of a sound being. It's our constant conversation with the land, our kin and our kith. Our rituals are the mediums through which we communicate our particular vibration out into our environment. They bring the past, present and future to the moment.

What food based rituals do you hold dear? Which do you practice?

Truly as of late I am inspired by the works of Cultural Preservationist like Gabrielle Eitienne of the Carolinas and Chef BJ Dennis who celebrates Low Country and Gullah Geechee cuisine and food rituals. I’m appreciative of Chefs like Ria Ibrahim at Soul Fire Farm, whose kitchen I had the opportunity to eat and serve in. **Her preservation skills are fire! These are examples of folks who are creating and moving in their land based culture and rituals to bring us into awareness and understanding of the histories and stories around food and land.

Honoring our rituals creates an opportunity to approach cooking, farming and even (especially) foraging with a level of intimacy and intention. I hold the ideal that what can happen in these experiences is intimate communication and opportunity for self and collective expression. A fully immersive sensual experience.

Ritual is as varied and multiplicitous as we are. How we cook, how we grow even is an extension of our personal style and mode of communication within a universal cannon.

What do your food rituals speak to? What are you preserving?

Stay tuned for Part 2. Preservation.

What we are harvesting right now:

  • Peppers

  • last of tomatoes

  • figs

  • holy basil (tulsi)

What we are cooking right now:

  • Mustard Greens

  • Bok Choy Mix Babaganoush

What we are planting:

  • Kale

  • Broccoli

What’s Happening in the garden:

  • Watering

  • clearing our summer crops

What we are reading/Who we are following:

  • Sacred Consumption: Food and Ritual in Aztec Art and Culture by Elizabeth Moran


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