When I was growing up, my family didn’t say grace before meals. Instead, when everyone was seated for dinner, we’d hold hands for a moment and get quiet. There’d be a couple deep breaths, an occasional giggle from my sister or me, and finally a quick squeeze of hands to signal that we were done.
The only time of year we did take a few extra minutes to share words of appreciation before eating was on Thanksgiving. Some years, my mom would pick out a poem to read. Others, there would be music and a harmonized rendition of Amazing Grace. After that, we’d go around the table and each person would get a chance to offer gratitude for something. After that, the feasting would begin.
Recently, a book landed in my mailbox that has me thinking about Thanksgiving and those moments before everyone tucks into the meal. Called Bless This Food, it is a collection of poems, prayers, and devotions from across a multitude of traditions and era. It includes everything from traditional prayers originating from the dominant world religions, to very old blessings in Middle English, to statements of gratitude from Native American cultures.
Towards the back, there’s even a pair of prayers show in American Sign Language (when I was little, I would have totally taken on the challenge of learning those). If you’re looking for some new words to share at your Thanksgiving table this holiday season, it might be just the book for you.
Looks like a wonderful book.
Growing up we always said grace before each and every meal and have carried that onto my daughters as well.
Awesome book!! We are Quaker and say Grace in the manner that you did growing up; silence to become present to the gifts all around us (the people and the food), and perhaps something a bit more ‘formal’ on the holidays. That said, my Dad’s parents are Evangelical and Gran’pa and Gran’ma always said the BEST Grace!
The best Thanksgiving was the one after my Dad had survived a motorcycle accident, and the worst was many years later after he passed on from a heart attack. Taking time to be present and reminded of the Blessings we hold, regardless of our circumstances, is an important way to be connected to our food and to each other.
Great book loved it!
Hi, Marisa! Thanks for sharing about this book.
I got this book to review, and I was surprised about the angle they took with it–I was hoping to see recipes for little things that were specific to each culture–but I thought the prayers were very interesting to read, and may make me even volunteer myself for grace at our family Thanksgiving this year–glad to see you got a copy too (: Great share!
What a fantastic hostess gift for the holidays!