Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Eating For the Glory of God

The picture you are seeing above is a local delicacy among Malaysians (at least in Borneo); chicken feet. Me and my dad were cooking dinner and one of the main dishes was chicken feet, prepared by deep frying and after that thrown into the pressure cooker for a couple of minutes so that it's nice and soft. I usually frequent other blogs that display food that were bought and rarely food that were cooked. Have you ever tasted chicken feet?

Anyway while eating I remembered the time when I was in bible school and at the end of each semester we were posted to different places in the state, mostly rural areas. There was this one time, during my first year, I was sent to minister in a oil palm plantation area. I stayed with the pastor who was ministering among the people there for three weeks. I got a few shots at preaching in Bahasa Malaysia (our national language) although people there preferred another local dialect (Iban).

The highlight of the three weeks of ministry was where I had to 'eat for the glory of God'. Although being Malaysian, I can't say that I eat everything a native Malaysian eats. I got a chance of trying out a monitor lizard dish. And like I always hear in TV about how stuff taste like, the lizard tasted like chicken. (the picture below was not the actual picture of the lizard).

OK, I had no problem eating the lizard but the challenge came when some Indonesian workers prepared a special dish for me. Prepared with spices, cooked to look like a Malaysian dish called rendang (see the picture below to see how rendang looks like; usually people cook rendang using beef or chicken but for )...

...So the Indonesian brothers in Christ made it clear to me what they were going to prepare; an Indonesian dish prepared that had the 'rendang' look only differing in substance used. Instead of beef or chicken they used dog meat! According to them a dog with infected skin disease is the perfect candidate for the pan but thankfully the one they prepared had none of that, I think (I never saw how exactly they prepared it or the dog). What they did was beat the dog to death after putting 'man's best friend' in a sack. Cruel.

As far as I can say, the taste of the dish was like any rendang that I tasted (spicy) but I can't seem to get the thought of eating dog meat. Well for the sake of these wonderful Christian brethren who went to great lengths to prepare this for me I simply couldn't turn them down. Echoing the heading of the post, there are times where we simply have to eat for the glory of God!


Dan Martin said...

Ha, that's a great post, Jon! They eat chicken feet in chicken soup in parts of Latin America, and I as guest of honor was served a foot in Honduras years ago. And as a North American I definitely had to deal with my reaction and eat it (actually, I thought it wasn't bad--just more chicken--except that with so little meat on the bones I wondered why they bothered). Great memories. . .

Tremonti said...

I'm glad that you could stomach it! haha. We do all sorts of things with chicken feet here, sort of a delicacy I should say. And yes, why bother eating it with so little meat on the bones! I don't think there is a reason to that though, we just like it. We also eat the chicken's behind, what is called any way? haha.

There is so much we can learn from a culture and the place to really connect is the table where we eat. But I think I can fit easily in western culture because I have no culture shock eating McD's haha. It's only the old folks who can't stand eating western food.

Kurt said...

Man o man...

Chicken feet, huh!? I am going to have to take your word on that one :-) this is more my problem than yours... i am a picky eater ha ha. For instance, my wife bought a basket of "turkey nuts" which are deep fried turkey testicles, but i couldn't get myself to give them a try. I am not an exotic eater by any stretch. ha

I have actually had lizard meat when i went on a mission trip to Costa Rica when i was about 18. It actually did not taste all that bad. And yes, I seem to think that there are parts of the new testament that talk about eating for the glory of are on to something as usual.

As far as the dog meat thing, i don't know if i could do it, this is becasue i have a dog that i love and i cant imagine puting the dog in a sack and beating it to death and then eating it (but, i also understand that my understanding is coming from a middle class american lens). With that said, i commend you for doing whatever it took to be used of God in the community you served during that experience!!!

Tremonti said...


I am a picky eater myself. But with that said I make it a 'rule' that where I go I will try what people offer me. But if I have a choice, like I'm cooking at home or with my buddies I will be bold enough to pass on food I don't think i will like. haha. About the dog meat, there are parts of places in asia where it is a delicacy. Eating dogs are still unorthodox in my place. Some also eat cats. My parents, when they were younger ate bugs, rats haha. But now since they moved from their previous lifestyle and to urban areas such foods are considered dirty (thanks goodness!).

Turkey nut eh! I think if you offered me to eat it I'd say ok but if Im in my own home i would most definitely PASS! haha.

Hopeful Theo

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I'm a student of Theology (currently and will always be one). I'm a student of culture and a student of music as well. I guess you could say life is a never ending journey of learning. Because of that we never stop being students. Just a little something about this blog: Deconstructing The Monkey is all about being a safe space for emerging conversations