Sometimes weird thoughts pop into my head. The other day, as we were saying a blessing on our dinner, the thought occurred to me - what exactly are we asking God to do when we say "please bless this food?"
I can understand giving thanks for providing the food. I can understand blessing a person - that they may be filled with the spirit. I can understand blessing a home or a temple - that the spirit may reside therein. But, what are we expecting from blessed food? Are we asking that the spirit reside in the food that we are about to consume? Isn't that a bit creepy - we're going to eat the spirit? Are we asking God to change the chemical and/or biological makeup of the food so that it is more nourishing than unblessed food? Why can't we just give thanks for the food? Why do we have to ask that it be blessed?
It's just one of these things we repeat by rote without ever really thinking about what we are saying - at least I've never really thought about it before.
Growing up outside of the LDS church, we didn't bless the food - we said grace. I remember once, as a small boy, we were at a family reunion in Pennsylvania. They asked my uncle - a methodist minister - to say grace. We all bowed our heads. He then said "Grace" - "OK, let's eat." Not that he was an irreverent man - I just think he felt that there was a time and a place - and a family reunion was neither the time nor the place for a long drawn out dissertation in the form of a prayer - I can think of some Mormon's I've known who could take some advice in that regard.
I remember a family I met while serving on my mission who invited us over one Sunday for dinner. When it came time to say the blessing on the food - they got dessert out of the refrigerator and set it on the table during the blessing - then they put it back in the refrigerator until we finished dinner. They also took the lids off of the salad dressing bottles during the prayer. So, I guess blessings are not able to permeate refrigerator doors or plastic lids to reach the food.
Personally, wouldn't it be much more efficient f we would just bless the grocery store? Then we could say a quick prayer of thanks before we eat it - think of all of the time we could save.