I have given a lot of offerings over the years and I have found that for me, those offerings that had the best energy were the meals I lovingly made from scratch. In many cultures, food is love and that certainly holds true in my house. Now, anytime you make an offering from scratch, whether it is a meal, a carved trinket or a piece of stained glass, that energy will be felt but today I want to focus on cooking.
I try to tell my students that giving a food offering, whether to one deity or ten, is like throwing a dinner party. When you spend your time and energy making something from scratch, that energy will shine through the finished product. If you invite me over for dinner, open up a can of something and heat it up on the stove, I will be polite but I will not be excited. However, if I walk into your house and smell something tasty that you have spent some real energy on, I’m gonna be very excited about dinner!
Now honestly, I don’t have the time to throw out a big spread for every occasion but I do try to make something nice for a deity’s special day or a big thank you after asking for something huge.
I grew up not wanting to cook. My mother is a fabulous cook but all I wanted to eat was junk food. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I found myself craving something better. Frankly, I got tired of eating crappy Thanksgiving dinners. I called my mom and asked for help. She sent 6 pages of instructions (that I still have) that covered the basics. It took me seven hours to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner and it wasn’t perfect but it tasted GOOD.
Over time, I realized that it wasn’t just the ingredients themselves that made the difference, but the energy I poured into making it. Not every offering needs to be a Thanksgiving dinner, but every step in the process will add more energy to the total. From the shopping, to the chopping, to the actual cooking, the more that you are involved in the entire process, the more of you will be in the final product.
For us, I firmly believe that homemade food is almost always better than eating out and ALWAYS better than anything in a can. Cooking seems to be becoming a lost art in our society and it’s really a shame. It’s not difficult and I truly believe anybody can learn. I’m not ashamed to admit it, after my wonderful Thanksgiving experience, I picked up a “Cooking for Dummies” and read it cover to cover. I was really busy with school and work at the time, but I tried to incorporate more and more cooking into my daily and spiritual life.
As a side note, I have found that organic products usually have a better energy than normal supermarket produce (and taste better). Also, if you have a farmer’s market available to you, take advantage of it. Produce and other foodstuff sold at those types of local markets are fresher and usually raised and harvested with more love and care than any factory farm could dream. I have also found that fresh herbs usually have stronger energy than dried.
When it comes to the etiquette of offering giving, it’s perfectly okay to make a meal meant for the deities and your family. Just make sure you make enough for everyone and that the gods get the first portion(s). Then feed everyone else.
However you show your love to the gods and goddesses, do it well. Take the time and effort to do it right. We aren’t all going to be gourmet chefs but I can tell you, Babaluaye will certainly appreciate you making a batch of black-eyed peas versus just opening a can…even if you did forget the salt.