I’ve decided to steer clear of the negativity in the world today and focus on cultivating joy. Joy is different than happiness—it’s a permanent internal spring that doesn’t come and go like happiness does.
Remembering my chubby self growing up next door to my grandparents, who offered opportunities to my love of food. The garden overflowed and the bread baked. I was allowed to experiment and run amok with culinary escapades.
These tendencies gave me to a lifetime joy of food- it became my passion and ultimately my occupation.
I’m befuddled by those who don’t share this source of culinary pleasure. They believe food is a tedious source of grub needed only for survival—or a diet to follow to build brawn and brain.
I’d like to share a few memories and tips for those of you who want to have a deeper engagement with that which sustains us.
How do we make love of food a source of lifelong joy?
Food embodies culture and history.
While innovative cuisines are coming out all the time, most of the food we eat comes from a long-storied history, connecting us with our ancestors and grandparents in faraway places.
Start on a personal level; what’s the history of the food you eat? What culture did it come from?
Did your people grow maize for tortillas or pickle gherkins? Did they roll sushi or ferment feta?
Perhaps you enjoy a good breaded fried cutlet, a schnitzel in German. Turns out they are famously pounded, breaded, fried, and enjoyed the world over. From Mexico to Marrakesh, Estonia to Istanbul, in Israel and North Korea, Iran and Namibia, the locals enjoy some form of Schnitzel.
Be it pork, chicken, beef, or veal, they all lay down their tender flesh and agree to be pounded into a flat, slender piece of meat.
The schnitzel is a true soldier of cultural comminglings. It transcends the differences between Palestinians and Israelis, who eat them readily side-by-side.
Could the history of a simple Schnitzel be a vehicle to Peace and joy?
Dive deep into the archives of the foods you eat. A good place to start learning about food is through TV shows and documentaries. Chef’s Table, for example, is a mouthwatering show that’ll have you falling in love with food in no time.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, find your wild side.
Are there certain foods you just won’t eat? Find a recipe, book or restaurant and give it a whirl.
As a child of Iowa, I wouldn’t touch an oyster or lick a morsel of lamb. But there are explorations to be made that will bring the unexpected.
One of my favorite reads is Consider the Oyster by MFK Fisher, who writes, “Plumbing the dreadful but exciting life of the oyster invites you to share in the delights that this delicate bivalve evokes.”
After visiting New Zealand, where the lambs outnumber humans, I became a lamb lover. If you’re a fan of lamb, then Superior Farms have a few recipes that you’ll enjoy.
Consider the simple Bean…. Shawns Yurt Beans. They can be cooked with just about anything languishing in your fridge, onions, peppers, tabasco sauce, horseradish, oil from dried tomatoes. You really can’t screw up a good pot of kidneys, limas or pintos unless you’re truly a bean-head.
Think outside the culinary box, you may make a few blunders and find egg on your face, but for the most part, you’ll discover new icing on your cake.
Food is a gift.
Consider looking at food in a new way. Rather than viewing it just as something that you need to live, think of it as a gift. Sit down and feel deep gratitude that you can eat delicious food whenever you like. That’s not a privilege some have today.
Food isn’t just fuel for life’s fodder. It’s a living celebration that sustains and connects us to our past and future. It brings joy if you just look for it.
Go find a bite of love.