Monday, September 7, 2009

A matter of choice

Choices. It is dangerously comfortable to seize upon easy options when it comes to food. We should perhaps be forgiven for this, because most of us have been raised with a sense that our food is ready-at-hand; a matter of convenience or even entertainment if we have the means. A moment's reflection at the lives of many around the world should quickly disabuse us of this view. A fuller appreciation for our uncommon comfort may be a healthier response than abiding guilt. Certainly, in my own family, we seldom treat food casually. Food plays the starring role in almost every gathering and lies at the heart of many conversations. We think creatively about food - we cook with gusto and eat with pleasure. Perhaps this is because my parents have always maintained a large and diverse garden, herb beds, and fruit trees. There is an undeniable joy in preparing and sharing what you have grown. You understand by reason of failure and unexpected success the challenges inherent in providing even a portion of what you eat. As it happens, other life choices - all positive - such as pursuing higher education, raising a family, being active in the community, mean that we require others to assume the responsibility of producing what we eat.

We have decided to look locally for help. This week we accepted our first "share" from Orchard Pond Organics, a Tallahassee-based CSA farm. We can expound on the wonders of radish sandwiches and watermelon; on fresh eggs and okra. We should spend some time openly praising the jars of homemade applesauce, cherry jam, baba ganoush, and other treats that find their way with some regularity to our home in Florida from a particular family garden in Illinois. 

In the end, we are sharing our experience in learning about, preparing, and enjoying the foods from others as public appreciation for those in our lives who allow us to live well by eating well.

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Kudya Bwino Bwino (Eating Well) © 2009