Saturday, July 19, 2008

Like Mustard: Matthew 13:31-32

I was always a ketchup guy. Ketchup, salt and sugar were my three spice/seasoning groups. Then I married Martha. Martha is a gourmet cook and adventurous eater. One of the first new spices to seriously enter my world of taste was mustard. There is mustard and then there is MUSTARD. The bright yellow mustard in squeezable plastic bottles is what I thought mustard is; good on hot dogs and brats, sometimes added to a cheeseburger. But Martha introduced me to white mustard and black mustard, and jars of mustard with the seed hulls still in it. These mustards were biting and strong, they would make my eyes tear up and sinuses drain. But these mustards also, when used sparingly released flavors in foods that would go untasted. It is really best used when you can't even discern its presence, but its effects.
Was Jesus a "foodie?" I don't think so. A lot about his parable speaks to the role of the mustard bush as a shelter and food for birds (read Gentiles). It's an anti-myth for the big-tree people (Cedars of Lebanon, Oaks of Righteousness, California Redwoods). Mustard bushes are small and everywhere....as we should be.


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