Thursday, February 25, 2010

All I Need...



…is love, love… and food. My son is having a love affair of epic proportions. In case you forgot, he is four. Well, very soon to be five. Tristan has always been social. He loves people, but he has never had one special friend. All that has changed now, now there is Lucy.

So she came over after school for a play date the other day. All morning my sweet little boy was like an insane wind up doll, totally unable to contain his joy. While, a bit taxing, it was so sweet.

Knowing Lucy would be coming for lunch I had great intentions of knocking her socks off. I planned to make a three cheese macaroni that would make her weep. However, as is so often the case in my life, it just never happened. I felt bad that all I served up was a pitiful PB&J, on store bought bread no less. I will get Tristan therapy to resolve the shame I am sure he felt. She, being the very gracious guest, made no hint of, what I am sure, was her horror. She pretended quite well to enjoy it and even cracked a smile or two while eating. I snapped this picture while they ate. Later, when I was uploading the pictures into my computer I realized something, something I haven’t’ quite been able to articulate until now. However, when I looked at those three sweet souls all giggles and joy my thoughts finally came full circle for me.

I love food. I do. However, as a “foodie” I don’t quite fit in the larger community. I read fellow bloggers blogs and they talk about “flavor profiles’ and “upper notes” and such. That is lost on this girl. I have said it before, and I will say it again, at the end of the day, for me, it is a simple “good” or “bad.” I often thought, “How can I say I love food. What is a top note? I clearly don’t, and furthermore have NO desire to analyze food in such a way.“ These thoughts make me doubt myself. Then I will read a blog and blogger will make a comment like, “ I only purchase shade grown coffee, picked on the first Tuesday after the last Spring rain. I find it is the only coffee that I find palatable anymore.” I read something like this and feel a mix of slight shame and frustration. Shame because, I think, “what I am doing? I can’t blog about food, CLEARLY I have no idea what I am doing.” The frustration, I have never been able to figure out, until now.

Here is what I figured out…I am not a food critic. I am a food lover. What I love about food, is the shared experience. I think that is what leaves me frustrated with so many blogs/ food reviews. Food has become a way to elevate ourselves, to set ourselves apart from the uneducated, the uncultured, the “have not’s” We are beginning to lose the truest value (outside of sustenance) of food in the foodie community and that is that food, is the ultimate community builder. Food is a very concrete and tactile way to explore other cultures. It is the first toe we often dip in into the other world of people, and often the first glimmers of respect and awe we begin to feel for their traditions. It brings us together in joy and, celebration. It is how we extend ourselves to others in their grief. Food is the great community builder.

I think often, we forget. We forget, as we pull out the Pouilly-Fume, aged gouda and French baguettes, that there are millions… right at this moment… that have nothing to eat. Nothing. We forget that our neighbor just lost her best friend 6 months ago and that maybe asking her over for dinner, even if it is just frozen ravioli and jar sauce (gasp, horror) would be the best meal she had in months because she would not be so lonely. We forget to be thankful. We forget to share the joy. We forget. We forget that food, restaurants, wine, it is all meant to bring us together, not pull us apart. And this sense of shared experience starts, likely at birth, but certainly by four.

So, I guess I am a food blogger after all. As is so often in my life, it took a four year old to remind me of what my 36 year old brain forgot. Thanks Lucy. You are the best future daughter-in-law I could ask for!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

That was one of the most poignant and lovely blogs I have ever read. You said it all, food is love! Even when you are four or forty. And foodies and wannabe foodies needs to get over themselves and remember why they got into food in the first place, because they do love it. Excellent job.

Sadler said...

When you cook for me, can I get the 3 cheese mac and cheese?

Mommy Gourmet said...

You know it! :)

Cate said...

i totally agree with anonymous, mama. i love this post on so many levels.

first of all i love all the love. your son is irresistible, and you are irresistible describing it.

also, while i do LOVE good food, i also love the act of sitting down with friends and family and people that i've just met for a meal. when i teach, i ask that the moms and dads stay for the class because of that very thing. we need to sit down together, just hang out, and have human time.

there is nothing wrong with wanting good food-which doesn't have to be the most expensive food or the most difficult to attain, but to me good food is the food that we make with love.

p.s. just catching up on your blog. xoxo

Chris said...

Outstanding post! I think you fit in as a foodie, like me:

"Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, foodies differ from gourmets in that gourmets are epicures of refined taste who may or may not be professionals in the food industry, whereas foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news."

Sounds like you:)

When it comes to gourmets, I do follow some and although I will never have a lot of the stuff they make, I do learn things from them. But I don't follow snooty, I'm better than you type. The ones I follow have been very helpful with my questions and offer good feedback on my more pedestrian recipes.

You had me laughing so hard over the shade grown coffee bit. Hilarious!

theessenceofwomanhood said...

I used to think the same way, felling a bit inadequate. Now I'm a bit older than you, well much older really. You have said what I have felt, in it's totality! I raised a family, a few extra kids, served tons of meals for the entire family, that being over fifty at times. So what if I don't know what an upper note is, and I don't buy gourmet coffee beans because I can't afford to. My family will tell you I am a chef... Make a delicious meal with just one chicken leg. Now that's love right? I have found that the foodie bloggers who respond to comments and encourage are real life foodies. Strangers who support fellow food lovers. There is that word again love - it is all about love!

AS you can see you post was most inspiring, thank you!

Kstar Anne said...

I completely agree with you. That was a really great post, that expressed the way that I feel about being a foodie but have never really been able to find words to explain before. Amazing!

Joie de vivre said...

You are a food blogger! I am in your camp girl. I don't make food foam, or freeze dry orange juice to make orange peas, but I do get dinner on the table every night for my family. I do try and think about the message I am sending my children about food, family time, and nourishing the body. Most of the time, it's not about the sublime, it's just about getting a good meal on the table. Amen to you Mommy, you keep on writing!

Joie de vivre said...

I shared your post on my FB blog fan page and Twitter. I hope more people find you from that. Really, I loved it.

Mommy Gourmet said...

joie de vivire, your awesome! thanks!

Judy said...

Thank you for an entertaining post. Little ones are so precious.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I truly enjoyed reading this post. I do feel that I rely too much on what I am serving to represent me. It's refreshing to hear a reminder that the focus needs to be shifted.

zerrin said...

I enjoyed reading each line of this post. It can be clearly seen that there is real sincerity between lines. That is what I love most about your blog.
I love how you describe your lovely son's feelings waiting for his special friend. It must be great and surprising for you to see how your son gets so excited for her. I'm sure you will be a great mother-in-law in the future.

When the subject is describing food, I think it is the love that the readers must feel. And such a foodie like you is very good at this. Keep up the good work!

Choclette said...

Great post. You are so right. Food is absolutely all about people and it's good to be reminded from time to time. Also good to hear I'm not the only one who seems unable to get the "top notes" in food.

Ricardo said...

All isn't about cooking, family is very important, as is well versed in this posting, of course food is always around after all we adore it and it adores us tempts us and nourishes us...I saw a program today where someone defined the difference between cooks and chefs, and I much rather be a cook... well best wishes for all the family and hope to continue to see your lovely dishes here, as always. kisses xxx