Growing up I had a pretty healthy relationship with food. I think Rochester is a really good place for people who like food, Wegmans being an exceptionally nice grocery store, and the Rochester Public Market being one of the oldest and best loved in the country. Some of my favorite memories of growing up involve chopping vegetables for dinner while my mom or brother read books outloud, or getting basket after basket of peaches or sweet corn or red peppers to can or freeze. At my best friends-the Kennedys'-house I learned how to make a consistently excellent white sauce, how to caramelize onions and how to bake oatmeal bread. My favorite food growing up wasn't french fries or jello (we only had jello at church dinners) but my mom's tomato soup, which does not in any way resemble Campbell's, being packed full of potatoes, vegetables and ground turkey, often eaten with fresh bread. Food was a nice part of my world, and I was glad to know how to make it, liked eating it, and felt like it was one of the simple, good, parts of life.
Now with all of that at my back, I and my housemates are cooking for ourselves three meals a day, and there are so many decisions. Decisions before we grocery shop. Decisions before we cook. I'm not sure what to do with them all. I recently read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. It's staggeringly good, and focuses around the question, "what should we have for dinner?" looking at food in our culture, on our dinner plates, and through history. I read it almost entirely while eating my lunches at work, which is not an experience I recommend, though I wholeheartedly encourage you to read it. Pollan writes winsomely, expertly and with feeling about topics which would in other hands seem bland. As he writes it, corn is a tragic hero, mushrooms radiate mystery and organic paradises leave much to be desired. He doesn't answer the question, doesn't say, "this is what you must do" but tells the stories of our food where it comes from and what does into it, and suggests that we should "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
One of the people I look up to the most is one of the women who TAed us when we were 1st year honors kids in London. She said one day, "Isn't it wonderful that we have to eat? That we have to stop working and sit and feed ourselves, and hopefully with other people." It was a blessing in college (when the food was just there for us) and is still a blessing, every day to be able to eat. To have the means to purchase and prepare food. And to enjoy it with friends, and this week, family.
Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: "What does his voice sound like?" "What games does he like best?" "Does he collect butterflies?". They ask: "How old is he?" "How many brothers does he have?" "How much does he weigh?" "How much money does his father make?" Only then do they think they know him. ---Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Food. And its complexities.
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Sorry to distress you about the soup! Have you tried the West African Ground Nut stew (or soup) from Moosewood? It fits your criteria and I love it!ReplyDelete