Two years ago three colleagues and I were awarded a grant from the College of Pastoral Leaders to study the spirituality of terrioir. Not terror, terroir. The term comes from a french wine-making concept that means "taste of place." Terroir helps explain how wine produced in one location tastes different than one that comes from a different place. Both wines can come from the exact same type of grape, but they have radical differences in flavor. The type of soil and other environmental factors play a significant role. The concept of terroir is expanding across the foodie movement. Many top chefs try to find local foods and their desire is to let the flavors emerge. Chefs, organic farmers and winemakers are all speaking the same language. They say humbly, "My job is to get out of the way and let food do it's thing."
The problem with most food that is produced today is similar to the problems ruining the church. Today most of our foods are over-processed. The goal is not to let local flavors burst forth from different regions. Rather the goal is to create a substance that can be standardized and easily transportable. One cannot say, "The 2009 Velveeta produced a earthy undertones that we haven't tasted since the 1999 Cheez Whiz." The result of all of this processing is that most of our diets are based on foods cannot nourish or delight us. For example, you've probably noticed that one cannot purchase a decent tomato from a grocery store. In order to ship the fruit, it needs to have a thick skin and the thicker the skin, the less flavorful. In effect, we are over-fed and under-nourished. We crave for more than our food is providing so we eat more and are less satisfied.