There’s a bit of Zen liturgy called the “Five Reflections” or “Five Remembrances” that is chanted before meals; it’s sort of the Zen version of saying grace. There are a number of translations of the reflections floating around, but they all boil down to this:
First, reflect on all the work that went into putting the meal on the table. This goes beyond just the cooking. There are grocers and truckers and farmers and suppliers of farmers. And all of those people are sustained by food provided by other cooks and grocers and truckers and farmers and suppliers. And don’t forget the non-human creatures represented on the table, from the turkey to the dairy cows and even the bees who make pollination possible. If you think about it, you realize the food in front of you represents a huge web of relationships that spreads across the globe.
Second, reflect on whether you are contributing to the greater good with your own life, and if the work you do is sustaining other people as much as their work sustains you.
Third, reflect on not being greedy.
Fourth, reflect on what food is really about — keeping us alive and healthy.
Fifth, reflect on “attaining the Way,” or realizing enlightenment.