Saying Providence: Egg & Cheese Sammich

Every time I eat, I give some thought, “I give thanks to the Source, for the present, to mother Earth for all the creatures who enable me to enjoy this food.”

Sometimes it’s complex and inconvenient to know the source. There is always a source.

One beautiful thanksgiving for food I’ve learned of is ‘saying providence’ from indigenous and permaculture communities. At a potluck or any meal, take a moment to speak about and acknowledge with gratitude each ingredient you bring to the table. This has a few benefits obvious and subtle.

Sharing providence from my own meal, an egg and cheese sandwich. Years ago growing interest in self-sufficiency, I thought it would be great to have a 100% home-grown peanut butter & jelly sandwich. My perspective’s changed a bit, for one I’m more interested in community-scale sufficiency and ecological mutualism in food. For two, I’ve realized a 100% community-grown egg and cheese sandwich is way more feasible and is plenty good too! Not there yet, but getting closer:

This sandwich is a snow-day lunch I enjoyed with a little help from my friends (afar)! Most of the ingredients have something special to say about’em, and it’s nice to pay each ingredient some attention in any case. I give thanks:

Bread: Wegman’s sourdough with rosemary, delicious but with lots of potential for a more mutually beneficial source.

Egg: Nutritious. Grown by chickens stewarded by teacher and friend of me, goats, bees, trees and more: Jerry. It was with this friend that I slaughtered and butchered my first animal years ago, a group of chickens he gave a good life.

Tomatoes: The last “fresh one” from my garden! Appropriate day to use that up – it was past its ‘best by’ date, but it felt real good to enjoy my own un-preserved garden-grown tomato in December.

Cheese: pasture-raised colby cheese from Organic Valley co-op. That co-op is big nowadays, but it had humble beginnings in the Mid-West where decades later agroforestry is picking up significant traction. Mark Shepard – author and practitioner of Restoration Agriculture – has been a member of Organic Valley since its early days. It would be good to have unpasteurized cheese I can trust but for now this is a go-to from major grocery stores.

Mustard: Grey Poupon, an ingredient I have mixed feelings about but can definitely appreciate – it has its own stories. A friend Danny left after staying at my place for a bit before moving out of town. While Kraft, the company owning that brand, is degrading the world excessively in many ways, it is a tasty part of the meal I’ll enjoy and hopefully improve on. This mustard is based on a French recipe – France, unlike Kraft, is taking the lead in some wonderful agroforestry efforts. This is made in Michigan with mustard seed grown in Canada. Funny trivia, Grey Poupon has a history in Hip-Hop.

Seasoning: curry powder and salt, medicinal food from all over the world.

All cooked up in a cast iron pan that gets better and better with honorable use over time – like ecological mutualism!

Grateful to have this food to eat, celebrating its goodness, with pasts worth truth and futures worth faith and compassion.

And imagine if the bread and oil was from beautiful multi-functional trees ?

Toward ecological mutualism. May the force of the forest be with you.

What do you think?