On Tuesdays at 11:30, I go to Canterbury Club, an Episcopal eucharist service that is open to all students at Millsaps. We have a priest from a local Episcopal church in Jackson come to campus to direct the service and we enjoy a delicious (and FREE) lunch afterwards. We are often lucky enough to have one particularly wonderful professor actually cook us meals, like today.
The meals that Darby cooks are vegetarian and always incredible. She realizes that us college students have finally reached a point in our lives when we DON’T have to eat vegetables if we don’t want to, and many of us take full advantage of this opportunity (I myself am actually fairly conscious of what I eat, but this is not typical). So she works her magic and produces veggie-full dishes that are tasty and satisfying, from salads packed with fruits and nuts to pasta dishes with fresh tomatoes and squash (squashes?). So we eat… a lot… at Canterbury Club.
And today, we actually became very aware of just how much we eat on Tuesday afternoons, which made us wonder… Why? Why do even the picky, finicky eaters who consume light amounts of food in the cafeteria inevitably end up gorging themselves at our meetings? In fact, just as a typed that last sentence, a friend who also joins us on Tuesdays walked in the room and asked what I was writing. When I told her I was writing about how much we eat at Canterbury, she laughed and said with big eyes, “WE EAT SO MUCH.”
I’m sure a big part of it is just because we are presented fresh, home-cooked food for the first time in a week and it reminds us of the kind of vittles we eat at home, so we revert to home mode and scarf it all down. It maybe also has to do with our brain overriding our appetites and diffusing all the desperately needed vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and fruits that we have been lacking for a while.
But I happen to think that it also is related to the fellowship that we find within our little group. I remember the first time I went to Canterbury Club as a freshman, two and a half years ago. I was homesick and had not met many people yet, and I had seen a flyer for the meeting. I felt so welcome and happy there, even though I hardly knew anyone, and was instantly incorporated in the conversations that were going on that afternoon. It was just what I needed to feel a little bit of normalcy and friendship in what was my recently-uprooted life. And I’ve been going ever since.
So we eat because we are lingering, we eat because we are talking with each other, and we eat because we are happy, sitting there between classes, catching up with those whom we don’t always get to see during the week. And maybe we are feeling so spiritually fed after our eucharist that we finally notice that we need to be physically fed as well.
Today, we had a Thai noodle dish that was made with tofu in it. I didn’t know that I liked tofu. I had two plates of it. And a huge salad, and a couple slices of rosemary bread, and two York peppermint patties for dessert. The nice thing is, I don’t feel like a glutton writing that, because it is always one of my favorite parts of the week.