Those who are around me for any amount of time would probably tell you I spend more hours than the average person thinking and talking about food. I’ve taken it on as a personal mission, and don’t plan on letting up any time soon. In the past week food has been in the forefront once again. I love how much press it’s getting in the news and everywhere in our lives. I feel hopeful about changes that are taking place in our relationship with food.
Last Friday we received our first delivery of fresh produce at the Seed from a local CSA called farmyard (http://www.myfarmyard.com). It was inspiring and exciting to see the beautiful food arriving. I loved seeing parents‘ faces as they picked up their bags. For some, the produce was an extension of their well-established cooking habits. For others, it was a new adventure. One mom commented as she left the building with her bag in hand, “I’m going to call you for recipes. This is a whole new experience for us. I’m nervous and excited!” The bags lined up in the hallway waiting to be picked up made me wish I’d signed up. I chose not to this time around because we still have so much produce in our garden. Soon I will be on the list. I thought about all the great meals these families would be preparing and eating together. Other writers have also had this topic on their minds.
Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemna, has a new book called Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. It’s a book about the transformative nature of cooking and the significance of cooking for turning around food-related crises in our culture. He says: “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself. People who cook eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought. It’s the collapse of home cooking that led directly to the obesity epidemic…Cooking links us to nature, it links us to our bodies. It’s too important to our well-being to outsource.” As I was digesting his wise words, which completely make sense to me, I ran across a poem by Joy Harjo, a native American writer who is a poet, musician and artist. Her poem “Perhaps the World Ends Here” (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/179782) begins with these lines:
“The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.”
Her words about the kitchen table being a focal point of nourishment in our lives have hovered in the vicinity of my mind these past few days. We face vast planetary challenges right now and this is an example of how change can happen on a personal level in our own homes, at our own kitchen tables. By choosing to take the time to prepare and enjoy foods recently harvested from the earth, we not only heal our bodies and our families, but also the planet upon which we live. It’s a powerful legacy we can leave for future generations.