I have always enjoyed cooking with spire. One of my favorite restaurants serves food based on a culinary history of the migration of spice across local cuisines. Yet something about my view of spice changed with a visit to a spire farm in Zanzibar.
The journey from Stone Town up to the high point of the main island of Zanzibar only took twenty minutes. Just a short distance beyond that point, on the east side of the hill, we spent the morning learning about the spices that are grown on the island. Only one is commercially viable on the world market, cloves. But this fact doesn’t stop local farmers from growing cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, black pepper, turmeric, and ginger.
As we walked though the demonstration farm in a tropical rainstorm the experience overwhelmed the senses. The various spice plants shared space with coconut palms, orange and passion fruit trees, as well as guavas, pineapples, and nutmeg. Each of us found ourselves engrossed while being educated experientially. We had lessons on how the cycle of planting through harvesting. Also tossed in for fun were links into various local dishes and potential medicinal uses of each plant. Near the end of our tour we even had a discussion on how nutmeg was helpful for bridges but we will leave those details for another day!
The truth of our lessons came quickly in our lunch at the Pagoda Chinese restaurant. Various traditional dishes were presented with a cardamom and cinnamon twists were delightful. The okra specialty was an amazing discovery. Even the broccoli with ginger was a new experience!
I wonder if I am willing to have the full experience of God’s infusion. What are the possibilities if I lived out fully the knowledge I already have? Imagine a world driven by compassion, mercy, and acceptance! You and I can be the spice in the lives around us. Once you have had the real think meals are never quite the same.
“By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you.” (John 6.56)
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