Thursday, February 25, 2010
…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!