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Not long ago I was scanning thru the radio stations and I caught Dave Ramsey’s show and paused for a minute. There’s a great billboard in Knoxville off Alcoa Hwy with Ramsey’s face on it that says “Act Your Wage.” I kind of like that.
Anyway, one of his recommendations for climbing out of debt is to simplify your meals.
And literally pare it down to beans and rice.
‘Cause beans and rice are cheap. Especially if you buy the beans dried. That’s super cheap.
I actually made a version of beans and rice the other day, and today was the third day in a row that I ate it (that’s kind of what happens when you live by yourself half the time). Black eyed peas, wild rice and fresh spinach with some hot chow chow on top. Delish (thank you very much, Bistro at the Bijou for the inspiration). And I reflected on how I ate beans and rice with great regularity for nearly a year.
Of course, I was vegan at the time, and so it was a no-brainer go-to for me. Plus, Daniel loves him some beans and rice (especially when you throw in some butter in your bowl at the end. gah…..). But it became so much more than that.
Because there are so many of our neighbors who eat just beans and rice.
Where meat is more than a luxury.
And fresh vegetation hard to come by.
And so, beans and rice it is.
For nearly 2/3 of the world.
It changes things, if you let it. By the simple act of committing the exchange of one meal each week to a meal of beans and rice, an awareness creeps in and burdens the soul to the point that you cannot but help to think of your neighbor…those whom we know, and those whom we don’t know; those whom we love, and those whom no one loves. And we think about the bowl that houses their beans and rice, and the pot it is cooked it. The stove or the fire pit it is boiled over. Whether that stove or firepit is within the home or in the center of a village. The home of the eater, and her family. Her floor and her walls and her bed and her toilet. Her clothes and her school and her work and her wage. Her illness and her heartache and her faith and her survival. Her hope and her dreams and her future and her end.
In a bowl of beans and rice.
Who the hell cares what kind of beans and what kind of rice and whatever the heck else you decide to throw in there (The Tomato Head, by the way, is another good local source of inspiration over here in Kville).
And should you cook those beans out of their dried state, you’d better be prepared to slow down. And think of your brother in that neighborhood next door or that far off land, doing just the same.
Beans and rice!
It’s like a whole other kind of communion. A bread and a cup shared across the miles. Your own weekly communion at your very own dining table.
When we look down on such ideas as silly or meaningless or liberal or granola or what-have-you, we neglect the opportunity to learn what the consistent recurrence of such simple food can offer, how it can humble us all, and its ability to make us better at neighboring and all that is called of us there in.
May the Lord make us truly grateful for that which we are about to receive. Amen.
the simple meal of beans and rice would be filed under the following values:
compassionate living, simplicity, faith and health