Saturday, October 29, 2011

Can we get back to the basics please?

Getting on my soapbox - image Sugarsavy

I’ve been thinking about this for some time of late and a recent interview with Lien Yeoman, a prolific chef and a woman I admire deeply not only for her capacity as a cook but for her resilience as a human being, has pushed me to the brink. And is the reason for this rant.

The food train has been derailed.

When did feeding become so damn complicated? Why do we give a shit how high our cupcakes rise, how crisp the pork belly, or how our latest overpaid vintage tableware looks eclectic and chic?

The actual taste of the food gets relegated to the opinions of armchair masterchefs or something we read in Gourmet Traveller, with the reasons we are eating in the first place pushed somewhere dark, deemed to be unimportant.

We need an intervention.

Magazine spreads of perfectly dressed tables with perfectly dressed models not interested in the food need to be put down. Back away. We’re getting lost in the detail while we get further and further removed from what its all about.
Food is nurture. Food is love. Food is about time with people  we care about.

Boil it down. Peel it back.

We are all part of the problem - photographing, blogging, writing, reading, and at its worst, watching; morphing something that is there to subsist us into a horrible competitive bloodsport. It’s hideous.

So I want to bring it back to Lien.

The woman has had the shit of life thrown at her and she gets up smiling every day. She wants to make the world a better place through food. She has no time for fuss and detail. When you spend a childhood subsisting on sweet potato, when crisp duck is only the thing of your dreams and you see people near death scrambling for a piece of bread – a vision so strong to this day you cannot queue for food. Now that is suffering. That is truly knowing the importance of food.

We need to start again.

When I started this blog I made a point of saying it wasn’t going to be perfect and I’d like to make that point again (its fairly obvious I know). But I don’t care. Ditto for my book where I took some photographs for it myself. They're not perfect but they are the truth. And it was fun. Aahhh remember that - fun. Lots of politically incorrect, glorious fun. Where has that fun gone?

I love to cook. I love it in a way that 24hours out of a kitchen and its withdrawals that haven’t been seen since Trainspotting. I do it for me. We need to cook because we want to. For no other reason. Just for us. Just for me and you. Fuck the frills. Screw the pomp and circumstance. Start again and focus on that moment.

Cook because you love it. Cook because you might want to make a fuss for a friend. Or for your mum. Or have some fun. Cook because you are fortunate enough to do so. Cook to nurture and to love.

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