It was a simple midday meal that he ate with a fork directly from the pot. This pot contained cabbage and carrots he had cut in a dear friend's kitchen, not expecting to bring a portion home. It contained some sprouts that were cultivated by a man who delivered them to the grocer in a blue ice chest, a sort of offering. The pot also contained a type of noodle that he had purchased with his wife and some younger friends at an Asian market. They had been on their way to the park. Into this pot the man had added some pepper sauce he and his wife had bought from a man with large, calloused hands, a man who bragged on the children who had grown the peppers and had discovered and perfected the recipe. (This honestly wasn't the best pepper sauce they'd ever eaten, but a good story does go a long way.)
Nor was it the best lunch the man had ever eaten. He ate alone; he was not sharing this meal. Additionally, he was trying to read, so the cabbage and the noodles and peppers only won his attention as he delivered each forkful. But it was warm food, full of love on a cold and rainy day. And each ingredient came with strings attached. It was only after the meal had become a part of him that he came to savor the strings. It was then that he gave thanks.