Sunday, November 21, 2010

A choice courtship

If you've read more than a couple of posts on this blog, you may have noticed I love to cook. But the real deep-seated love belongs to food. I love food. I know what you're thinking, who doesn't love food? I promise, I won't toss out the F word- foodie. But, to be cliche and honest, I'm bananas about food. I have the great fortune of working a job that allows me to spend all day long thinking, researching, reading, writing, tasting and steeping in all things food. Isn't it great that as humans we have the opportunity to enjoy the something that fuels our bodies several times a day? It's brilliant.

Unfortunately, it is clear that not everyone shares this same regard for food. Which is actually quite strange because it is such a basic element in daily life. A walk through the local grocery store features end cap displays of food-like substances (to borrow words from Michael Pollan), solving the "problem" of cooking. Scanning a magazine or newspaper highlights the newest diet trend that vilifies  a single food group, and encourages people to avoid it at all costs.  To which I say, boo. There is no bad or good food in its own right. There is however, a good or bad relationship to food.

A good relationship with food goes beyond simply liking the food on your fork. It is an appreciation of the role food plays in our lives and the grand scheme of life overall. Food tells of a place, a history, a farmer, an animal, an environment. The more disconnected we are from our food the more likely we are to forget the central role it plays in many areas of culture and in our world.

I am going to begin sharing the juicy details of my little love affair with food with each upcoming post. I get it, we're busy. This is America after all. However, I really do believe that a healthy connection to our food is needed now more than ever. It isn't too late too shift our paradigm from food-as-fuel to food-as-fancy and affect some broken systems for the better as we do so. Bon appetit!

After publishing this post, I came across this article, "What Food Says About Class in America" by Lisa Miller at and found the following paragraph exemplifies exactly what I mentioned in the post:

"Claude Fischler, a French sociologist, believes that Americans can fight both obesity and food insecurity by being more, well, like the French. Americans take an approach to food and eating that is unlike any other people in history. For one thing, we regard food primarily as (good or bad) nutrition. When asked “What is eating well?” Americans generally answer in the language of daily allowances: they talk about calories and carbs, fats, and sugars. They don’t see eating as a social activity, and they don’t see food—as it has been seen for millennia—as a shared resource, like a loaf of bread passed around the table. When asked “What is eating well?” the French inevitably answer in terms of “conviviality”: togetherness, intimacy, and good tastes unfolding in a predictable way."
This is a great read and illustrates the parallels of food in our culture. I definitely recommend taking a few minutes to read it, especially as we head into Thanksgiving week.