As I sit here in the early morning quiet, I have an idea for what I want to say, through words and pictures. I am kept warm by my grandmother’s afghan, a crocheted masterpiece of muted browns and beiges. A candle burns, mellow, beside a nearly emptied cup of tea. I fell asleep early last night, happy and pleasantly full after a meal with old and new friends.
I wanted to write this morning because something struck me upon waking. After spending yesterday at the University of Minnesota for their 2nd annual Food Day event, after last night’s fantastic dinner of wine & stunning vegetarian fare in the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka, and on the morning of a celebratory harvest dinner in downtown St. Cloud, it struck me.
People are really into food right now. Incredibly into it. Passionate about it. In love with it.
I don’t remember any of this from my childhood. I don’t remember Food Days, or harvest dinners, or evenings where people who would have been strangers put on name tags and become instant friends over their shared love of wine.
And I feel so, so lucky to be alive for all of this. Yesterday, I asked people what their favorite vegetable was. They would smile, shake their heads — “Oh,” they mused, “I don’t know. I love them all.”
My heart sang, every time.
And when my friend came to visit, coffee in hand, in the part of the day when I was growing tired and was so grateful for the boost from her spirit, she said –
“My mom is changing the way she eats.”
That’s what I love the most about this thing I do, food blogging. I absolutely love to hear how people are changing the way they eat. How they’re falling in love with food. How they couldn’t possibly choose their favorite vegetable, because they love them all.
It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for me. I’ve been spending most of my free time working on something called the We Love to Be Free CD project. It’s a compilation of Minnesota artists who support the freedom to marry. This CD happened because in 13 days, Minnesotans will have to vote on other people’s relationships. We have to go to the polls and say whether or not we think our constitution should say that some people should be able to marry the love of their life, and other people should not.
I don’t believe this to be true, so I’ve spent a hefty chunk of time since February bringing this project to fruition. It’s been amazing. It’s been inspiring. It’s been exhausting.
It’s been worth it.
The reason I’m telling you about the CD project, besides to share my work and the generosity of others, is that it’s pulled me out of the kitchen. Especially in the past few weeks, it’s had me microwaving dinner and eating frozen pizza. I had intended to participate in Unprocessed October, and to some extent I have. The good news is, I plan to keep it going. Eating whole, organic food is something I’ve committed to for the rest of my life, and some weeks are going to be better than others.
But what it really boils down to is this: we all need to create the “breathing room” in our day to day lives that gets us back in our kitchens. Cooking is therapy. To eat well is to love your body, your spirit, your soul.
We should all do this more often. We should encourage it in others. There’s always time to cook. We need to eat to survive, and we should enjoy it, together.
I love the photos in this post, each and every one. I want more photos of my family and friends cooking. I want photos of me cooking. I want photos of people eating together, laughing, living, happy. I want all of these photos because they mean that they have been cooking, that I have been cooking. They mean that we are holding up our end of our love affair with food.
It’s fantastic that people are so in love with food, but there is a lot more work to be done.
There are people without kitchens who want to eat healthy but only have a microwave. There are kids in schools around the country who are eating lunches of pizza and french fries off of Styrofoam trays. There are people eating “food” out of boxes and cans, because it’s all they can buy, in their neighborhood.
We need to take this kitchen revolution further, beyond our own homes. There’s no reason for people to be unhealthy anymore. There’s plenty of food, plenty of skills to be shared, plenty of food love affairs waiting to happen.
And guess what. You’re the missing piece.
Think about it. What could you do? What do you have an excess of, enough of? What can you share? What do you know?
Maybe you want to change school lunch for your own kids, or the kids in your neighborhood. Maybe you know all about gardening and want to teach a community ed class for low-income people interested in growing their own food. Maybe you want to volunteer to help cook a free community dinner at your church or local park.
Whatever you do, talk about it. Take pictures of it. Tell your people about it. Get them to do it with you. Have fun.
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