My very first was a birthday gift from my mother in fourth grade. From then on, I’ve been drawn to cookbooks. When I bought my last cookbook, which was the Immanuel Lutheran Church Cookbook, I swore it would be my last.

Now I’m tempted to break that vow. I’ve recently come across one that is different from all the rest. Titled “Food for Life: Recipes and Stories on the Right to Food,” it’s not exactly your basic Betty Crocker cookbook. It also sounds politically a bit edgy with that last bit of the title tossed in there. What do you think? Does every person who just happens to be born into this world have a right to food? Whose responsibility is it to feed all 7 billion of us on this planet?

Currently, one billion people live in extreme poverty. The United Nations Food Program facts state that it will cost about 13 billion dollars a year to provide nutrition and basic health care for the poorest people in our world. Bread for the World states that 13 billion dollars is about the same amount Americans and Europeans spend in one year for pet food.

While we love our pets and they too need to be fed, there are startling facts about poverty, hunger and homelessness in Montana alone that are heartbreaking. Missoula County contains the highest number of homeless families, which also means hungry families.

So what about people’s right to food? What about our responsibility, if any?

That’s where this cookbook may just change your heart or inspire you further. Its description shines light through all those dark facts about hunger. Granted, it’s not the total answer. It’s a beginning, for indeed every person does have the right to food. The responsibility for feeding people lies with us. Jesus’ words in Matthew 14:16 help us to discern this responsibility: “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”

This unique cookbook is co-published by three groups: Lutheran World Federation — North America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Sharing global recipes adapted for American cooks, the cookbook also tells stories of how 70.5 million Lutheran Christians (the Lutheran World Federation) from around the world work together on issues of justice, poverty, disease and hunger. It tells of the daily struggles for food and life among some of the most vulnerable communities with which the LWF works.

So, yes, I’m ordering my last cookbook! I’m looking forward to learning to make dishes for Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist religious celebrations, and feasts or even fasting times. It promises to empower us as we face the reality of hunger globally and locally. You can read more about “Food for Life” and order it from Lutheran World Federation at cmu@lutheranworld.org.

In our home, the table blessing ends, “Bless be God, who is our bread; may all the world be clothed and fed.”

Pastor Aprille Jordan of Immanuel Lutheran Church can be reached at 549-0736 or at pastoraprille@imluchurch.org.

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