And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life.”
In my imaginings of what life would be like “on the field” in a third-world country, I wondered at my culinary abilities and if they would resemble the Little House on the Prairie days and baking my daily bread in a wood stove.
Fear and trepidation accompanied those imaginings.
Upon researching our region, I discovered that naan is a staple and sometimes the sole sustenance at mealtimes. Often, breakfast is this flat bread and tea. Eggs may or may not accompany bread and tea for lunch. Dinner of rice and beans, kebabs or soup is never served without naan. Since many locals do not use silverware, tearing naan into small pieces and using it to scoop up food is natural. When we have guests, whether we serve American food or local dishes, we can be sure our guests will be satisfied as long as we serve it with … you guessed it … naan. (And tea!)
Naan comes in many sizes and shapes, from a two-foot oval to teardrop to round. It is treated as a sacred gift and there are rules that accompany it. Do not use your left hand to eat (anything). Naan should be served face up. It is not to be thrown away; that would be disrespectful to God’s provision. We have fumbled through a few naan rules, but recognize the implications of treating this important staple respectfully.
Naan saved me from certain culinary disaster and the pressures of baking my own bread. There are naan bakeries with wood ovens every few blocks, and there’s nothing quite like a hot, soft, chewy, fresh piece of naan. We “Americanize” it for sandwiches, pizza, and garlic bread (some people call that infusion, right?). Mostly, we go “local” and dip it in our meals.
As we strive to be salt and light here, I hope and pray that the daily bread and sacred provision will one day be so much more than naan.
He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35