Taste of Joy
by Matthew Gatheringwater
While I was eating squirrels, I was reading about oyster cocktails, boeuf en croute, and how to make a fountain from champagne glasses. More important, I was being exposed to the radical idea that food (and, by extension, pleasure) was not necessarily sinful, but something to enjoy with friends. The Bible, which I was supposed to be reading, portrayed God as a terrible cook who gave the children of Israel the same bland manna every day for forty years and poisoned anyone who complained.As someone who began to identify with the Unitarian tradition through literature, before ever meeting any living Unitarians, I've traced my exposure to Unitarianism back through Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott. Imagine my surprise to learn that the first Unitarian author I ever read was Irma Rombauer ( 1877 – 1962 ), the author of The Joy of Cooking . The legacy she started as a benefit for her congregation has no doubt touched the lives of millions of people in unexpected ways, but I am personally grateful to her for giving me a taste of a future outside of fundamentalist Christianity.
Has a book changed your life? Religious liberals often think of every section of the bookstore as the religion section. Many regard the Bible as only the opening chapter of the scriptural canon. What book has earned a place in your personal canon? Send no more than 300 words describing any book, ancient or modern, that is “a source of the living tradition” of your faith to “Bookshelf,” UU World, 25 Beacon Street, Boston MA 02108. Please include a daytime phone number and your congregational affiliation. Submissions will be considered for a periodic new column.