Finding a Place for Grace

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Like Zeke Emanuel, my father started many meals with a blessing and as a family we often "benched," or sang grace after meals--rather, competed in our harmonic skills during it, putting in surprise intervals and flourishes my brother and sister picked up at various USY retreats. The sweetness of the moment was matchless.

I always welcome the chance to say grace before or after meals, and as Zeke points out in his thoughtful and moving post, that chance is far too rare in our non-family, eaten-out, often rushed meals--which is to say, most every time we dine. I'm glad he's made such an eloquent and simple argument to find a place for grace whenever we eat in company. He ends by asking who can write a simple, non-secular grace that will express the thanksgiving our everyday experience reminds us every day we need to express.

Any ideas? I welcome them, and will post them with pleasure.

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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, and came to The Atlantic Monthly in 1981. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.
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