Imagine this: black beans, cooked with bay leaf and coriander, with sautéd onion, pepper, garlic, and cumin added at the end of the cooking time. Maybe some corn fried up in the cast iron skillet after the onion mess has been tossed into the beans. Brown rice. Fresh pico de gallo. Homemade salsa. A little crumbled cotija cheese. If I’ve got time, and I’m feeling fancy, add fresh pão de queijo and farofa. If Jesus came the next day, he could eat those leftovers with us, in freshly pressed corn tortillas (the kids love rolling out the balls of masa and squishing them in the press). For dessert, He can join us in eating homemade bread and preserves.
We usually drink water. I don’t have wine to offer, but if He wants it, I’m sure He can manage.
It’s a good solid meal, unpretentious peasant food. It’s kosher, which is only polite when serving someone raised Jewish. It’s vegetarian, a nod toward the millennium, a time that many latter day leaders, including Grant and Snow, believe none of us will eat flesh. It is one of the best meals I have to offer, and I can make it, from scratch to finish, in about an hour. I do make other good meals; our Thanksgiving dinner was fantastic. But that took at least eight hours of cooking and cleaning before we were able to move the food out of the kitchen to the table. I think it would be better to serve the simple meal, and have to time to sit and talk with Jesus, than the be confined to the kitchen, stressed about taste and presentation, engaged in a massive cooking effort that requires an equally massive cleaning effort. Remember the dinner party hosted by Mary and Martha?
Years ago, our ward Primary president was trying to get one of the more unruly boys to behave. “Is this how you would act if Jesus were here?” she asked him. He thought about it for a moment before responding, “If Jesus already knows who we are, why act? He would know it’s just an act, right?” That question, “Why act?” was the most profound thing my husband heard in his six years of being Primary pianist. We do no one a favor with false offerings and vain pretentions. We should strive to do each thing well so we may be confident in fruits of our labor, not proud or ashamed. If what our family is eating is beans and rice, that is what we should serve the Savior when He drops in. It is what we can honestly share with any soul who comes to us for hospitality.
This is clearly not what the church leader had in mind as he was counseling us to be generous in our fast offerings. I have no complaint with the admonition to be generous. And although it appears that the Savior would get a very different meal at my house than at his, I am thankful he gave me a chance to think through what I would feed Jesus if He showed up at my door.
What meal would you feed the Savior, if He came to your home?