Today is Salad Day. You probably won’t have seen any cards for it in Clintons, or any special set-menus for it at restaurants. It’s not as well known as Valentine’s Day but it is more important to me. It’s a story of friendship. Three years ago to the day I had a fantastic day out in Banbury with my friend Clare. We’d been to the cinema to watch Princess and the Frog, had a great lunch and now I was on my way home, but that old enemy of British public transport was waiting for me. Snow had turned Warwick Campus into gridlock. I was a first year, so I had to trek a bit to my halls but I made it home.
Thursday night was Cell group night (like a Bible study grop if you don’t know) but the snow made it clear we wouldn’t be getting off campus to my friends Peter and Ed’s house any time soon. So some of the cell group came to mine. I cobbled together any food I could find, including a bag of salad that was half frozen in the fridge. No problem I thought, I’ll zap it in the microwave to freshen it up. And I did. ‘Here is salad’. Since that day, my friendship with Peter and Ed and everyone else in the cell group, in the associated choir, in the Chaplaincy grew and grew and grew. We’ve gone on to share masses of (non-microwaved) salad. We had it for my 21st birthday meal. I love salad. I love eating it and I love sharing it. That classic episode of The Simpsons where Homer sings ‘you don’t make friends with salad!’ simply isn’t true to me.
This year, Salad Day is extra important to me. I’ve given up meat for Lent. Someone told me it’s a strange thing to surrender. I don’t look at vegetarians and think they’re strange. Lent to me means giving something up that you like and is a luxury in your life, to prove you can live without it. It’s a food type that people across the developing world do live without. It’s also a food type that is processed in such a way that uses vast resources. 40% of grains produced in the world feeds livestock while almost 900 million people go to bed hungry each night. Global hunger is a complicated issue, but one we can act on through the ‘Enough Food If‘ campaign. I’m not saying we all have to be vegetarian to end global hunger. I’m just using Lent this year as a chance to reflect on the food I eat.
I’m going to thoroughly enjoy my salad tonight. I hope you thoroughly enjoy whatever’s on your dinner plate tonight, and the people you share it with.