LET’S COOK: Good will bids good cooking
While growing up in Underwood, my parents spoke about the human need to interconnect with people and how to appreciate the many cultures in this world. We were constantly meeting new people either in our laundromat, hardware store, electrical business or trailer court. It was a family commitment, and the success of these businesses depended on cordial, courteous service. My parents set the example, and recently I came across the “Ten Commandments of Good Will” by Dr. W. W. Van Kirk. This writing came from my dad’s office where it resided above his desk next to the brown, Paymaster check writer machine. Here it is for your reading.
Ten Commandments of Good Will
1. I will respect all men and women regardless of race and religion
2. I will protect and defend my neighbor against the ravages of racial or religious bigotry.
3. I will exemplify in my own life the spirit of good-will and understanding.
4. I will challenge the philosophy of racial superiority by whomsoever it may be proclaimed – whether they be kings, dictators, or demagogues.
5. I will not be misled by the false propaganda of those who set the race against race, nation against nation.
6. I will refuse to support any organization that has for its purpose the spreading of anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, or anti-Protestantism
7. I will establish comradeship with those who seek to exalt the spirit of love and friendship in the world.
8. I will attribute to those who differ with me the same degree of sincerity that I claim for myself.
9. I will uphold the civil rights and religious liberties of all citizens, whether I agree with them or not.
10. I will do more than live and let liveI will live and help live.
This reading assisted me when I lived in Massachusetts and visited Boston where I had the privilege of meeting Jews, Muslims, African Americans and many other nationalities. My parents had also taught me that when meeting someone new make sure others get something from their association or contact with you. It could be something helpful, inspirational, refreshing or entertaining.
Most often our conversations included questions about life in North Dakota and “how cold does is really get there?” or my favorite topic food and recipes from their background. Over the years I have gathered some wonderful recipes. While living in Massachusetts I became friends with a Jewish family and through them learned about the ancient dietary laws that govern the selection, preparation, and eating of food by observant Jews. As we discussed our background, we both realized that food plays a major part in our heritage, and how food gathers family and community.
This joy came about because we both understood good will and practiced it. In time I came to know that most dishes they prepared had a story. I was introduced to kugel “vegetable and noodle pudding” which sometimes can be made with fruit as well. They took great pride in their potato latkes and I had to remind them that the Norwegians lay claims these under the name of potato pancakes.
They taught me to make matzah ball soup. They invited me to their synagogue and their home. I enjoyed a Shabbat evening where delicious food that had been prepared earlier was served with warmth. During Shabbat, Jews refrain from work activities and concentration is on prayers and family. Each of these was a first time experience and chance to learn and appreciate another culture.
My life is richer because of these experiences with strangers who often became friends. When we nourish the idea of respecting other cultures and we take the time to connect with them through words, food, music or other avenues, everyone gains. I believe that “humans being are like pots in a kitchen; they can bring great flavor when warmed and stirred, but turning up the heat will only cause them to boil over.”
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