Some are seeking love in a bottle. Others look for it on the streets and many are trying to find it in their food.
Most of our food is grown on acres of land, sprayed by airplanes, cut by machines, moved by trucks or boats to plants adjusted to grind, package and ship. It is sent to stores where in bright colored wrappers; we are sold by seduction the richness of this product. We take it home open the can, package or jar one at a time to "feed" ourselves and maybe our family. The goal is often speed as we have or have had other obligations in the day. TV may be our entertainment as we consume this meal intended to nurture us.
This food is also sold to a distribution plant where it is sent to food chains across the country to feed a growing segment of the population. They take the food, mix it to their formula in large vats, package it in measured amounts, ship it by trucks to their envelopes to be prepared quickly by workers for their breakfast lunch and dinner crowds. In these restaurants or at drive through windows food is dispersed in plastics or paper with speed as the goal so each of us can meet deadlines, time limits and multiple obligations. Some of us eat in our cars as we drive to other destinations or eat at our desk. What would happen if each day we had a pause in the day's occupation as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said in his poem The Children's Hour
Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.
Every day we hear on TV or read in newspapers and magazines of this new disease – obesity impacting all ages, cultures and communities. Is it any wonder for we are starving for intelligence and are trying to feed that need.
There is a growing market these days for organic and slow cooking and is it any wonder. We are coming to the realization of how to meet our needs as we feed ourselves each day .. Organic farmers know their soil is the foundation for their crop production. They have prepared it to meet the needs of each seed they plant. They walk their fields observing the soils' needs and the challenges and the requirements of each crop The food may be picked by family or they will run the machines. Their cows or chickens may have names and they raise their family in this true home-based business. This food is usually sold at a farmers market or sent to the co-op or health food stores who buy from regional suppliers. The food bought this way is taken home and prepared as a meal served at the table feeding one or a large number as they gather to share and laugh together.
There is a growing trend with chefs to buy from these farmers and they often ask for specialty foods for their demanding customers. These customers are people who dine out in a relaxed atmosphere and get fed food prepared by inspired hands.
We can find a similar commitment to feed their customers in the Mom and Pop restaurants. They may specialize in grits and eggs or chili and stews and they prepare it from their recipes and often times with food from local sources.
There is a saying "A bitter cook bakes a bitter bread". Is it then not true there is a missing link in our food chain; that of caring. Caring for the food that feeds us. Caring for the food as it is prepared. Is love not the missing ingredient in much of our food supply today. Is that not why many of us are staring for intimacy. Would not love in growing, love in preparing and joy in eating change the way we look and feel. Food, in order to feed our body and our souls must be grown, prepared and ateen with an intention of caring, of love.
Sophia Loren said the most vital ingredient in any recipe is love. Would it not be wise to add love to every dish we make, serve and eat.
Save some of those candy hearts and serve them with each meal as a reminder of the love in your food and the joy in your life. I think it might be the best diet you will find for the next year.
© 2004 Susan Bacon Trumpfheller