Perishable and Fragile

As living beings, we must partake. Frequently. Yet human beings elevate food beyond simple nutrition, and always have.

Food is art. It forms the first layer of bedrock in all cultures and traditions, religions and families. Food is the living tradition that expresses a people’s history. But unlike monuments or books, food is alive and food is now! It is perishable, and it is fragile, just like you and me.

I’ve always loved food. But it is in understanding that food is a language that I’ve learned to respect and honor it. Food is spiritual because it is, in the most literal sense, the stuff of life. It feeds not just our bodies but our spirits too. It brings us together, and it is common to all mankind. It transcends our selfish differences.

Food is a beautiful language. Its symbols and words are the sweat in the kitchen, smiles on faces, the time spent lingering with friends, that deep sigh of contentment after a heavy pasta dish with fresh basil from the garden. Food is a sign that I will die one day, yet food is a sign that I will live and fight at least one more day. And if it’s good food, with joy in my heart! To share in a universal need, with that undying desire for a life beyond mere survival, is the most human of acts.

Food shared is a sign that I care for your strength and health. It’s also a sign that I’m hungry, and you are too, so let’s be a couple of humans  in this moment. Food is what you give to an ailing friend. Food is how to say I love you, without words.

Good food is Mozart, or Shakespeare, or Hemingway, depending on the chef. More days than not, though, in the bustle of life, it’s just a low grade pop song. But it’s still food. It’s still the stuff of life. It’s still that magic thing that makes it all work. In the mundane and elevated alike, there is always a beautiful moment to share (and taste!) if only we look.

September 29, 2017