One of my favorite fast-food sandwiches is the Burger King Wopper. (Shown here as I ordered it). I hadn’t had one since before the pandemic, so when I drove through to get one recently I couldn’t help but express my gratitude, which turned into a contemplation where I traced each of its parts back to their source.
More often I use a short formed gratitude that goes: “This (system) is so (fine, beautiful, useful, enjoyable…) I’m grateful for this opportunity to (use, consume, consider…) it. God bless its components and all those who had a hand in bringing it to me.” You can see that that usually includes many plants, animals, thousands of people and all of evolution. To get started I ask “What had to happen for this to exist?”
Not knowing the exact sources and history of the parts of a Wopper, I traced them to a general location and then referenced those to the basis of all life—earth, water and sunlight. From there, another, even quicker leap in appreciative contemplation led me to consider the eons of cosmic collisions that produced the sandwich’s elements. The step before that was the Big Bang, and before that came the unimaginable mystery that’s beyond imagining. The reason for the word “Divine” in the title of this posting, is to suggest that the divine creative process can be evidenced in a simple sandwich.
To enhance future gratitudes that involve sandwiches, I did some research to learn more about their components.
Sesame Seed Bun: Flour comes from grains such as wheat, rye, barley, rice, etc. Machines collect the seeds from the head of the grass and dump it into trucks that deliver it to storage bins or a flour mill. At the mill, the grains are passed through a separator to take out foreign objects. The grains are then cleaned, washed, dried and passed between rollers to separate the bran from the germ. Once the flour has been milled to the right grade, it’s bagged and shipped to distribution warehouses. Restaurants create buns by combining yeast—a tiny microorganism, classified in the plant kingdom of fungi that feeds on natural sugars found in grains, fruits and vegetables. the seeds of canola, corn, palm, soybean or sunflower plants are crushed and the resulting oil is purified and refined. Sugar comes from sugar cane grown in warm, often tropical climates. And salt, sodium chloride, comes from seawater that’s allowed to evaporate. The crystals are collected, washed, screened and packaged, a process that takes about five years. Water is added and then vegetable oil.
Mayonnaise: This is a mix of oil, egg yolk and an acid, usually vinegar or lemon juice. A hint of spices such as garlic creates a variety of flavors.
Iceberg Lettuce: For American markets, most of it is grown in California and Arizona.
Tomatoes: These are mostly grown in California, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee.
Pickles: The seeds of a special strain of cucumbers are grown to produce pickles for sandwiches. These are pickled in brine, vinegar or other solution and left to ferment.
Onions: The largest producers in the United States are Washington State, California and Oregon.
Burger: Most of the cattle raised for beef in the United States come from Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, California, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa and South Dakota.
American Cheese: This product is made from a blend of milk, milk fats and solids combined with other fats and whey protein concentrate. As a blended food, it can’t be called “cheese,” so it’s labeled as “processed cheese.”
I offer this description of elements not to promote any restaurant or sandwich, but to show how any object or system, food or otherwise, can be more fully appreciated by tracing its component parts to the source—ultimately, The Source. While the model above is generalized, the process of an imaginative reverse engineering only takes about thirty seconds to a minute or two. I don’t think the universe minds if we overlook details in the evolutionary process beyond our reckoning. What matters is the gratitude, appreciating that—and how—an object or system came into our lives by virtue of its origin and history. This kind of contemplation gives us a taste of the divine, and reminds us of our deepest roots.
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
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