Food is our humanity. Not just my humanity, but yours, too.
Food is that string that ties us together, that connects us to the earth and to our communities. Had you asked me a year ago what it means to be human, I would have answered that to be human is to love. And absolutely, that is still my answer. But now there is more to my answer than that and there is more awareness. Now my answer is broader, because I have observed that everyone I know who loves fiercely also eats fiercely. Therefore, to be human is to eat.
Does that sound simplistic? I can see how it might. But, if you have a moment or two, think about it. Food shapes our day, times our schedule, fuels us to keep going. What do you do to impress someone, take care of someone, show someone you love them? You cook for them (or take them somewhere where someone else will cook for them!), you mail them baked goods, you drop off a warm meal at their house. At the center of every occassion, celebration, or holiday there is food. A delicious and fortifying meal prepared for the enjoyment of those who gather. Food, more than any other substance, has a transforming ability to comfort, sustain, and protect. No other “thing” has the same impact.
I suppose this is why I’ve dedicated such a large chunk of my life to food, and to eating. I do it because I am so fascinated by the complex relationship that humans have with their food and I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with the simple presence and grace that food has in my life. I was asked by someone just yesterday what my hobbies are and I replied, “food”. For a moment I was embarrassed, because my answer sounds so simplistic, but I knew how much more there was to my answer than that.
My hobby is planning a weekly menu for my family. My hobby is spending time at the weekend farmer’s market. My hobby is cooking and eating with my family and my friends. My hobby is scouring food magazines for new ideas, recipes, and tips. My hobby is writing about food and all my food-related adventures. My hobby is reading books that teach me about the origins of my food and the impact food has on society. My hobby is visiting farms and learning about the production of food. My hobby is taking care of the little herb plants that grace my windowsill.
My hobbies are food, and I’m not ashamed of that, for they fulfill my basic needs and desires. Food is my humanity.