Eat with Joy
Christianity Today Book Award Winner
Food is the source of endless angst and anxiety. We struggle with obesity and eating disorders. Reports of agricultural horror stories give us worries about whether our food is healthy, nutritious or justly produced. It's hard to know if our food is really good for us or for society. Our relationship with food is complicated to say the least.
But God intended for us to delight in our food. Rachel Stone calls us to rediscover joyful eating by receiving food as God's good gift of provision and care for us. She shows us how God intends for us to relate to him and each other through food, and how our meals can become expressions of generosity, community and love of neighbor. Eating together can bring healing to those with eating disorders, and we can make wise choices for sustainable agriculture. Ultimately, redemptive eating is a sacramental act of culture making through which we gratefully herald the feast of the kingdom of God.
Filled with practical insights and some tasty recipes, this book provides a Christian journey into the delight of eating. Come to the table, partake of the Bread of Life—and eat with joy.
"This book made me hungry! Hungry for all that is good and beautiful about the art of gathering with others around a table. As a drive-thru mom I have struggled daily with my own connection to food for decades. Rachel helped me understand the true joy and gift of community, culture and a healthy connection to my food. It gave me nourishment, comfort and a deep understanding of the power of my kitchen table to heal and restore. A truly great read!"
"This book is a remarkable spiritual and practical guide to God's most basic gift. Rachel Marie Stone takes eating to a devotional level, where food becomes a part of our healing, our relationship building and our gratitude toward God. My joy in eating is now increased as I can better realize the meaning and purpose of food, and the relationships built around it."
"Eat with Joy is delicious! Generous, wise, well-reported and--yes--joyful, Rachel Marie Stone's book will open your hands so that you may receive the good gifts of God. She had me long before even mentioning saag paneer, Babette's Feast or the recipe for cinnamon rolls."
"In this food-focused age, reading about food can be a lot like eating it: fraught with anxiety, confusion, excess and even emptiness. Rachel Marie Stone is here to restore what God intended from the first--real joy. You'll find much wisdom and celebration in its pages, including recipes and simple family-tested ways of living and eating more joyfully right now. Make ready the feast!"
"When Irma Rombauer published The Joy of Cooking she couldn't have imagined we'd need to learn to eat with joy eighty years later. But we do. Stone offers the backstory of our current food woes and dilemmas along with hopeful and redemptive responses. And all the while she invites us toward a practical, joyful celebration of just, good food."
"In our multitasking, 24/7 world, many of us treat food as mere fuel for our bodies. By slowing down, eating healthier and learning to relish our food, we catch a glimpse of life as God intended: an everlasting communion with him. Those who seek an improved relationship with their daily bread will rejoice in Eat with Joy. Highly recommended!"
"I'm not proud of this, but I didn't start taking my eating habits seriously--or seeing them as part of my spiritual life--until I reached mid-life. I wish I'd started when I was in my twenties (or before), and I wish I'd had Eat with Joy as my guide. The beautiful mealtime prayers alone are worth the price of the book. A treasure for soul and body."
"Eat with Joy is a perfect title for this wide-ranging look at food and eating. I loved Stone's emphasis on communal meals and finding pleasure in the sensory experience of eating. My creativity--and appetite!--were stimulated by her stories about God's joyful presence in the growing, cooking and savoring of food, and the connections she made between food and justice were illuminating. The variety of beautiful table prayers at the end of each chapter reflect the heart of the book, encouraging the reader to see food as a gift from God to be enjoyed in God's presence and with the people we love."
"Rachel Marie Stone is a woman after my own heart: a mom, a writer and a Christian who loves to feed the people she cares about. Eat with Joy is practical and inspiring, wise and full of love."
"In the quest to deal at length in writing with a theology of the ordinary (work, rest, play, study, worship, sex) it turns out I left out a crucial subject--eating. Thankfully Rachel Marie Stone's splendid new book fills the void--in my stomach, mind and heart for an adequate and accurate theology of eating from a biblical point of view. I'm tempted to give the advice God gave Ezekiel--'eat this book.'"
"This book is manna in the wilderness to any Christian who has ever had a conflicted relationship with food, thereby missing the unadulterated joy of eating. In a fresh and engaging voice, Rachel Marie Stone reminds us that when we savor delicious, nourishing food, we are actually tasting God."
"Christian faith and life have always been deeply and inextricably bound up with eating. But Christians have not always appreciated this. What a joy then to have the gift of this book by Rachel Marie Stone. In prose that is inviting, nonjudgmental and inspiring, Stone shows us that we can eat with joy, and in such eating extend God's love in the world. By combining stories, recipes, biblically based reflection and numerous practical tips, Stone helps us move more deeply into the mystery and the grace that eating is. Prepare to receive a blessing."
"In this food-crazed society . . . Eat with Joy offers wisdom for the challenges of health and 'proper' eating. The book serves up a solid theology of food--of receiving it, enjoying it, and giving thanks for it. It offers the perfect blend of personal stories and research, Scripture and recipes."
"The moral imperative of food sustainability has turned many a well-intentioned dining companion into a locavore-vegan-forager scold obsessed with ritual purity at the expense of pleasure. From the Christian perspective, eating biblically should weigh not only the ethical and environmental implications of food production methods, but also such elements as generosity, friendship, gratitude and worship. Stone, a contributor to Christianity Today's Her.meneutics blog, presents a compelling case to tone down foodie righteousness with common sense and awe of the sacred. Confessing to personal struggles with eating disorders, Stone ends each chapter with lyrical prayers drawn from around the world. 'Better the occasional meal shared with friends at McDonald?s than organic salad in bitter isolation,' Stone admonishes the new dietary purists."
"In this engaging book, Rachel Marie Stone describes what she has explored on her journey of 'learning to eat like a Christian,' which has entailed movement towards the profoundly countercultural practice of joyful eating. . . . Given Stone's honest, disarming, and nonjudgmental spirit, the book will energize readers to take incremental steps away from the guilt, angst, and anxiety that so often characterize our relationships with food and to move redemptively toward joyful eating."
"Eat With Joy is an expansive and generous exploration of theology, culture and all things food. . . . Eating becomes a richer act as one considers Stone's reflections; and if we are indeed what we eat, we become richer as well."
"Stone's astute volume will nurture readers in a way that few books about food and faith can, helping them to move beyond both the paralysis of food-related knowledge and the didacticism that sometimes accompanies food-justice activism. Eat With Joy carries its readers toward the comforting, joyful truth that God is a 'loving parent, waiting to welcome us home with a hug and a bite of something to eat.'"
"Rachel Marie Stone reminds us that God intends us to delight in food, and she invites us to do so again. Offering up both wisdom and recipes, Stone welcomes us to the table and shows us a way to eat with joy."
"Rachel Marie Stone's Eat With Joy: Redeeming God's Gift of Food takes one of the most fundamental aspects of human life and covers it with remarkable depth and breadth. . . . She offers a compelling vision of how we can spiritually and concretely partake of the heavenly banquet on earth."
"This is a bewildering world to eat in. Thankfully, Rachel Marie Stone has written Eat With Joy. . . . She draws on wisdom from all the voices of today--from Pollan and Kingsolver to Berry and Capon--and seasons it with a healthy dose of friendly common sense. . . . Eat With Joy is a welcome voice of sanity, speaking into the cacophony, helping readers to integrate and balance the many voices. Stone provides resources to help us eat redemptively, restoratively, communally, creatively, and sustainably. No more culinary stalemates or food comas: instead, we can eat with joy."
"Rachel stone calls us to rediscover joyful eating by receiving food as God's good gift of provision and care for us. . . . Combining insightful reflections on food and faith with some tasty recipes, this will not be a book to miss!"
Foreword by Norman Wirzba
Introduction: Conflicted Eating: Our Complicated Relationship with Food
1. Joyful Eating: God?s Intent for How We Relate to Food
2. Generous Eating: Serving the Needy, Loving Our Neighbors
3. Communal Eating: How Meals Bring Us Together
4. Restorative Eating: How Eating Together Heals
5. Sustainable Eating: Wise Choices in Stewarding the Land
6. Creative Eating: Food Preparation as Culture Making
7. Redemptive Eating: Putting Best Practices Together in the Real World
Notes For Further Reading
Group Discussion Guide