Though, it’s Wednesday, it’s kinda more like a Monday because it’s the start of the week; the first work week of the year! Time to catch up on e-mails, start new reports, finish reports that should have been done before the holidays, and put into practice some of those resolutions we made just a short 48 hours ago.
One of my resolutions is to focus. I love to participate in lots of different activities, projects, and events. And, honestly, I’ve found that over the past couple of years, I may have chosen to participate in a little too much. One of the many reasons that I choose to do the work that I do, is not only because I am so passionate about our food systems, but also because I am so passionate about my family and my time, and no one seems to understand that better than farmers and fishermen. We live in sort of a throwback way, if you will. And, a way, I wish more of the United States took into serious consideration.
9-5? Nope, not for fishermen and farmers. More like 24-7. But, it’s not work, it’s a lifestyle, or according to Brain Pickings, a flow. There's no waking up and dreading a meeting, no reports to fax (Do people still fax?), no cubicle to maintain, no: "Ummmm, yeah, I'm gonna need you to come in this weekend." Ya know, this guy:
Instead, it's a life. A get up and do things that you love, spend time with family, eat dinner at the table, and get a good sleep kinda life. One where it doesn't matter what brand of clothing you are wearing, if you know Snookie's baby's name, or care whether or not your iTunes is updated. Now, before I move on, I know we all make sacrifices to provide for our families, no matter what that might be, and often it means working more hours to send our kids to good schools or even just put food on the table. It's a bigger issue than just, "do what you love."
But, wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a society that allows for, and gives opportunities to make sure, that everyone makes just enough? Shouldn't that be enough, just enough? Because, when you talk to fishermen and farmers that's usually their goal: just enough. Just enough money to have good food on the table, a warm home, clothes for the kids, gas in the truck, and a nice night out every once in awhile. Everything else is just a bonus.
Now to answer the title of this whole post: Why do I love food so much? Because, to me, it is the root of all we do; it's something that we ALL have in common. It brings people together, and it keeps families together. It provides work to our farmers and fishermen (and truckers, and restaurants, and bait dealers, etc); it reminds us of growing up and of our grandmothers, grandfathers, parents, and friends. It's a history from recipes passed down from generation to generation; our classroom teaching us about other cultures, and for some of us, a stress relief, cooking in the kitchen, listening to good music, kids sitting at the counter, smells emanating from the pot on the stove.
I wish that more people were able to sit down at dinner at night with their families and talk about their days. There are a plethora of articles and statistics available on the benefits of family dinners. But, honestly, unfortunately, for so many people, their job and lack of time prevent them from doing so. Get home late after picking up the kids from their numerous activities, don't have time to cook, throw something processed in a bag in the microwave. Don't want to hear the kids whine and complain because you're tired so you let them eat in front of the TV. Sleep (barely). Repeat.
Sometimes when I sit in a nice restaurant and complain that my pork belly is a touch overcooked, I wonder to myself, "Am I an asshole?" But, then I remember that Herman and I have just enough, and that includes a nice night out every once in a while, and that eating a delectable dinner with him in celebration of something is part of my life. It will become a memory, and something that I hope that my kids do with their partners in the future, because they have just enough, and choose time with their families over too many activities, and good food over trendy clothing.
I love food. I love that it reminds me of my mom, and tells my kids about my mom. I love that it gives me a reason to hang out and get to know amazing people before a meeting. I love that it provides an envy-worthy lifestyle, and hard work, to farmers and fishermen. I love that it provides a conversation when one is lacking... "So, what's your favorite food?" I love that a trip to the farmers market provides a sense of community, and I love that sitting around the table with my family for dinner gives me something to look forward to everyday.
So, I guess, it's not just food that I am working on; it's jobs, a sense of community, memories, culture, fairness, justice, history, and... most of the time, delicious!