Food for Thought

Archive for June 2013

Why blog about food?  As a reflection of our cultures and our communities.  As a window into our lives.  Everywhere in the world, food is a symbol full of meaning.  When you’re sick, somebody makes you food.  My mom’s homemade chicken soup.  We mark time with food.  On your birthday, it’s a cake.      

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Care packages containing homemade cookies are the fastest and best way to make new friends in college when you move away from home for the first time.  It’s also the only known cure to the most common of illnesses: homesickness.  

When you hear arguments about the importance of everyone sitting down to a family dinner, literally no one is talking about the health benefits.  They aren’t talking about spying on their children to make sure they eat their broccoli.  And no one is saying to put your phone away because they’re worried about the cancer.  There’s something that happens when you sit down and break bread with your friends or your family.  Maybe at your favorite restaurant, the place you go when you have something to celebrate.  Or the diner, where, on LI, you go when it’s 1am and you and your friends aren’t yet ready to call it a night and where all the conversations you will always remember take place.  The place where you begin to mythologize the events of the summer over cheese fries and gravy.  Food is full of meaning.  It’s the perfect topic to write about.   

And, of course, nothing beats home-cooked food.  There’s something special about cooking for someone else.  I think this is even truer today, when so many options exist to choose the alternative.  When I tell people I’ve made bagels, they look at me like I’ve just constructed a pyramid or done magic.  In some ways, I think they’re right to see it as magic.  To me, cooking is both transformation and teleportation.  Like the way that one ice cream pop can bring you right back to the edge of the curb on a summer day on the street where you grew up. 

For me, this blog is a place to explore these ideas.  It’s a place to share cool stories about my travels and the ties between the identity of a place and its food.  It’s a place to reflect on the iconic foods of my heritage and my youth and of the two places I’ve called home.  It’s a place to share recipes, cravings, obsessions and aversions. 

To me, food is about community.  It’s about passing around a plate of antipasto with your family and catching up, or fighting over the last marinated artichoke, so it’d be cool if this blog could also become a community.  A place for people to share their own stories.  Just like taking time for Sunday dinner, I hope this blog will be a place for me to slow down my thinking, take time, put a pot on the stove, let it simmer, and see what magic happens. 

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