Friday, March 10, 2006

Stories and Food

Last summer, I picked up a copy of Simply in Season and reviewed it for you here, telling you that it was one of those rare cookbooks that brought me much joy because of its celebration of good, simple foods appreciated in their own time.

The writers of Simply in Season have recently started their own blog, called, appropriately enough, Simply in Season. It's not updated frequently, but it does serve as kind of an ongoing addendum to the book, sharing thoughts on locally-grown seasonal foods, recipes, and upcoming events.

In browsing the archives, I found a post called "Food that satisfies body and soul." And surely you've been reading these pages long enough to know that that kind of title is sure to lure me in.

Cathleen's tale of taking good homemade local food on a flight reminded me of my own culinary preparations for visiting my parents last winter. But what struck me about her post was her reflections on why this food satisfied her so much: "I knew and liked the story of my food."

Wow. That says it all, doesn't it?

When you partake in locally-produced foods, when you know the farmers involved in raising the crops or the livestock, when you know the care that is put into the food's production, and especially when you've had a hand in crafting the food yourself... you know the story of your food. And in a world where it's all too easy to be dependent on mass-produced food from faceless grocery shelves, it's good for us to reclaim the stories of our food.

Stories are vitally important in forming who we are. Whether we allow the stories that are told to us to plant seeds in our minds and souls... or we learn to tell our own stories to affirm our own growth and to nurture others (as I've learned in working with Sojourner on her current project)... the words and the ideas in these stories bring us to a fuller sense of ourselves and our places in the world. And we cannot forget that everything in our lives has a story to tell, a story that has a subtle but profound influence on us... even (or perhaps, especially) food.

Do you know the story of your food? Do you like the story of your food? Do you share the story of your food? If not, perhaps it's time to change that.

After all, you're never too old to enjoy a new story.

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