Hello. Hi. I’ve been a little, er, absent from here lately. Ok, a lot absent. It wasn’t intentional… a combination of life getting in the way, and a feeling that my inspiration to cook new things and to talk about food was waning. The realization that many people don’t know (or care) where their food comes from, but can converse ad nauseam about the latest episode of The Bachelor or Real Housewives of New Jersey (how is that even a show?). Or which Kardashian is pregnant (seriously?!). I also recently learned that some new ovens come with a chicken nugget setting (I wish I was kidding).
Doesn’t that say a lot about our society? Oh, I have plenty of vices too. I admit to recently binge-watching the entire first season of The Mindy Project while eating half a bag of Chicago Mix popcorn. I could have been doing so many more productive things with that time – like working on this blog! Or learning to bake bread. (I still can’t bake bread.)
But that’s not the point. The point is that issues surrounding food – hunger, local food, sustainable agriculture – are not given the attention deserved by the media, government, or by us. Yesterday was World Food Day. A time to reflect on these issues and bring the focus to the importance they have in our lives every day. A time to think about what we can do differently, which policies we will vote for, how we vote with our dollars each time we buy food, how we teach young people about food and engage in everyday conversations about food. All this stuff is immensely important and it weighs heavily on my mind. But as far as my blog goes, maybe I was thinking about it all wrong.
I attended two big family gatherings last week within days each other, one on the east coast and one back here in Ontario. The first, with great sadness, was my grandfather’s funeral. The bright spot to the trip was seeing family I hadn’t seen in years, all of my cousins in one place for the first time since I can’t even recall when. It’s unfortunate that these are the things that bring us together, but they do. The second gathering, following shortly after, was a traditional Thanksgiving meal with the other side of my family including all the fixings. Which also involved using a broom handle to lift and turn a turkey that was nearly too large for the roasting pan.
What stuck with me most from these two occasions was not what you might expect: Watching my nephew jump in the leaves. Playing euchre, although I really really don’t like euchre (I’m sorry family, please don’t disown me!). Watching everyone come together like a choreographed ballet to set the table for Thanksgiving dinner. Spending more time arguing over where to order pizza from and determining how to make the best pizza at home than actually eating it (using Pillsbury pizza crust, no pizza stone, and three separate cooking times, so I’m told); yet not batting an eye when four separate meals were required to satisfy the vegans, vegetarians, celiac disease sufferers and carnivores. Food was there, yes, but family, that is what I remember most.
In honour of World Food Day I am not going to share a recipe. Someone recently told me they were interested in what I had to say on this blog, and the recipes I post are just a bonus. So today I will not post a recipe for yet another bread failure (I thought focaccia was supposed to be easy?) and I will end here. In honour of World Food Day, don’t worry about glorying food, using complex ingredients, or trying a new recipe. Order a pizza (be it vegetarian, gluten free or loaded with meat), rotate a turkey with a broom handle, hug your family, and laugh when your loaf of bread fails again. Or not. Personally, I think I’ll buy a bread maker.