Jesus Food & North Ave. Food

(the references are local to Wauwatosa, WI. You can think of your own in your neighborhood.)

I dare you to stroll the aisles of Metcalf or Pick ’N Save on State Street and imagine yourself a third-world person with meager means and be captured in pure awe by the abundance of its plentiful bounty. I’ve done it many times, and it is mind-boggling.

A choice of two of any selection would be sufficient to make a purchase. But we need to have rows upon rows of deodorants, spices, sauces, and meats that cap our attention or tease us…no, lure us. As you well know, the “top shelf” means that that the manufacturer paid more to reside there. I always shop lower shelves.

Food. Nourishment. Some of us live to eat, but I eat to live. It’s that simple for me. Is that simple when it comes to national and international news? How much do you need to ingest to properly digest? If you solely watch Fox News, I feel sorry for you, but I warn MSNBC watchers only to take snippets of theirs as well.

My eldest sister has a strong Hispanic background and told me to ignore BelAir restaurant. It was a pet shop for weird creatures. I often wonder how they got rid of the smell. She said, “It’s not authentic.”

Jesus tells us that he’s the only food that we need to fill our soulful tummies. His is the food from heaven. We know how its ingested but how it is digested throughout our lives? Just this tiny host I and others will hand you shortly. What about the food that’s served and eaten in our everyday lives – in our conversations, commitments, and relationships?

I ate for the first time at Sandra’s On the Park on Forest Home Ave. Wonderful food with an outdoor patio overlooking woods. My friend and I had an enjoyable conversation about everything and about nothing. Dionne Warwick sang, “That’s What Friends Are For.” Isn’t that Jesus food?

What do we invest in our diets to see us through a productive life, not only for ourselves but for those who cannot afford to stroll those grocery aisles on State Street?

Dairy Queen once was Burger King on North Avenue, Il Mito is doing well if you have the cash. I ate at Walter’s once thirty-eight years ago, and it’s still there, doing well without me.

Elijah was fed well. The angel says, “’Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!’ He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.” I don’t know what a “broom tree” is and I wonder if Bonzels sells hearth cakes. Elijah successfully completed his mission in the name of the Lord.

When I approached my religious order (the Salvatorians) about buying a house in this neighborhood, our finance guy said, “Isn’t that near Jakes?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Buy the house.” Jakes (great prime rib) closes, Juniper 61 opens (very nice restaurant) and now it’s closing to make way for the Eastside Pizza Man version, I’m told.

Fleeting food or food that lasts forever? Ventura lasted but not long enough, and it’s now some bowling-theme place that sells food as I drive past it. Across the street is a remote, cute restaurant next to a tax store. You’d miss it if you weren’t looking. I think they need a new marketing director.

Jesus warns us, “Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;…I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever…”

O’Gorman car repair sign says, “The Bible is our Owner’s Manual.” What that has to do with car repairs escapes me. Is that the food I want for my car? What, I need more Jesus in my brakes?

Mekong Delta replaced Larry & Ed’s Steak House on 60th and North. Larry & Ed’s was a true “supper club,” a concept that seems to be slipping away. With Mekong Delta and the Vietnamese restaurant, you’d never know we once hated each other.

“Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Jesus is the bread of joy for those who sorrow, he is confidence for all our doubts (without erasing those doubts), Jesus is the surprise for that “surprise party,” and he surprises us along the way with that rascal friend of his, the Holy Spirit who will surprise you even more; more than all the twists and turns of a Bruce Willis action movie.

Try being that third-world person wearing third-world glasses as you roam aisle after aisle staring at food that you really don’t need along with nourishing food for a healthy life. “Twinkie or carrots, carrots or Twinkies?” Uncover what feeds you. What religious food groups may be missing from your diets? What spiritual food groups do you need? If you’re watching or reading the news to be entertained, then you’re a Twinkie. If you’re watching or reading news with the food from Jesus; now you’re in the produce department – carrots with keen, alert eyes along with healthy Christ-like attitudes.

If you don’t mind a short trip, there’s Copper Dock and sitting outside eating a juicy New York Steak and gazing as Frees Lake with a wonderful salad bar. There once was Fox & Hounds, another lost supper club concept but now it’s for motorcycles groupies.

With the Internet and the all noisy news, we hear and read … please remember that you can only be and share with others, what’s been witnessed and shared with you. You can only digest what you’ve ingested.

Should I give Walter’s one more try?

(the references are local to Wauwatosa, WI. You can think of your own in your neighborhood.)

All books are available on                                                

                                                “Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of humorous and reflective letters written by my cats over twenty years
                                                          “Soulful Muse,”

inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
                                                  Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
                                        “Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture

                         “Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up


About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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