But, as I continue my classes, I'm beginning to find my passion in food lies more in a cultural/sociological frame of mind - I want to understand food, to find ways to answer some of the questions so many people have. I want to find ways to educate and explore healthier, informed options for eating. And the more I learn, the more I realize that the foreigness to fresh produce and 'natural' food is a uniquely American characteristic. Why is this? How is this? And how can we change this?
Because it is everyone's right to eat healthy, and as simple as it seems, Michael Pollan's tag line for In Defense of Food should be tattooed on the bodies of people the world over: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
It's so exciting to me to talk to my classmates about this - to find an answer for making slow food, healthy food, real food, accessible to real people. I call it the single mom test. As wonderful as it would be to have everyone participating in CSAs, buying locally and learning the true meaning of organic and seasonal, it's not realistic for everyone. As a single girl living with her patient and adventurous boyfriend, working through our CSA every week requires some creativity and foresight which may not be possible if not for my (1) obsession with food and (2) knowledge and experience with cooking. Could a single mom with two young kids to feed realistically do what I do? What if she had two jobs just to support her family and most of her money gets eaten up by bills, transportation and otherwise providing for her kids? She's a hero if they have a home-cooked meal more than once a week that includes vegetables. It's hard. And not enough people get it.
Living in San Francisco for three years I was spoilt for choice - every produce you could need was grown in the area. Sometimes specific items were more affordable than others, but given the very culture of the Bay Area, there was a variety of places were organic and local options were everywhere.
Back to the single mom with two kids working two jobs... what if she lived in Queens, NYC? The corner bodega doesn't have the best options for local and organic - the only way she would know where the food came from is from those little stickers on those apples from... ??
It's things like this that make me want to understand and know more about how to make food - real food - affordable and accessible to more people. How to change the diet of so many to rely less on having meat at every meal and how to get people to understand the importance of quality over quantity sometimes.
Obviously, it hard. It's harder than most people can appreciate. In fact, I'm going to eat a young coconut right now that's neither organic or local, but it's what I want.
See what I mean? It's hard.