Column by Manning Pastor Sam Livingston: Food preparation at the holidays


It is that time of the year again, Thanksgiving! My favorite feasting time of the year was and still is Thanksgiving. My mother would start gathering her secret ingredients days and weeks before that well-anticipated Thursday. Thinking about it now, she spent a lot of time preparing for that annual family feast.

Preparing the food is equally important to the food itself. Some food types can be marinated to add excitement to the taste, while other food types should be served immediately after preparing. Your turkey can be marinated or seasoned one to two days before cooking and placed in the refrigerator. Seasoning a turkey and placing it in the refrigerator two weeks before cooking is risky. The turkey may start to decompose sitting in the refrigerator. Vegetables, on the other hand, should be prepared at the point of use. "Serve and eat vegetables/fruits as soon as possible after preparation - cutting, shredding, juicing exposes surfaces to oxygen, which reduces antioxidant levels and therefore increases oxidization - causing a loss of vitamin C" ( We eat vegetables for the health benefits they offer. Therefore, an incorrect preparation can decrease the vegetable's natural ability to release antioxidants. Antioxidant defined is an enzyme or other organic substance, such as vitamin E or beta carotene. It is capable of counteracting the damaging effects of oxidation in animal tissues ( The correct preparation and serving of vegetables can actually help prevent a person from becoming ill after eating too much meat at one setting. Vegetables assist with the decomposing of the meat in our stomach. This is why your mother insisted that you eat your vegetables! People who sit down and consume too much meat can easily walk away nauseated when all that meat starts breaking down in their stomach.

The prep team at your favorite restaurant is usually the chef. He or she wants to make sure that the food they cook has been handled and stored correctly. Food that has been refrigerated for too long gravitates toward decomposition every day.

Let's look at food preparation from a biblical standpoint. Matthew wrote, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," Matthew 4:4. Jesus taught that we need a well-prepared diet to be properly sustained. We need to make sure that we eat carefully prepared natural food, but we also need the infinite benefits of spiritual food. The spiritual food comes directly from God. Our father makes sure that his food (his word) avoids any possibility of being spoiled by Satan. His word is delivered by the angels assigned to us. Remember when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray? This is what he told them. "And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread," Luke 11:2-3.

Jesus wanted the disciples to know that God almighty has prepared their daily bread for them. The only thing the disciples had to do was to ask for it. God has prepared fresh manna for us each day, just like he did for the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness.

Most of us like to read some type of daily devotion to keep us on track in our spiritual walk with the Lord. The best place to start each day is a prayer conversation with the King of kings; Jesus is his name. Prayer is the best place to receive our daily bread from the Lord. Receiving our daily dread from anywhere else stands a great chance of being seasoned or prepared incorrectly. Any entrée not prepared correctly can make us sick!

Lord Jesus, we thank you for the food that we are about to receive for the nourishment of our souls; fill us up until our cup runs over. Then use us for your service. Amen.

Sam Livingston is pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Manning.