Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Life is a Feast

Today marks the one year anniversary since I started writing this blog. On July 27 of last year I wrote of it being “A Time to Eat,” a moment where we should be free to engage in the pleasures of food, to truly taste and appreciate all that food has to offer.

One year later it still is a time to eat, and yet my perception of food has changed over the last year. Sitting down to write about food a few times a month has further engrained in me, not only an appreciation for food, but all that motivates that desire for and the appreciation of the flavors of both food and life.

It is also a time of change. Much has changed for me over the last year—there have been ups and downs, love and anger, laughter and tears, and stress and relaxation. I finished my master’s degree, got myself accepted into a doctoral program, traveled to new places, reconnected with many old friends and made some new ones as well. Now I’m preparing to leave my job, relocate to a different state, and start a new chapter in my life.

And food has been there the whole time. Despite all the changes in my life it still remained a time to eat. I continued to engage with food on a daily basis and found that I could pour desire, confusion, or whatever emotion I was feeling into cooking or eating or discovering something new about food. I recognized that food has been used this way for ages, that it is a means to connect with people around the world and in the past. That it is a way to discover insights into the minds and stomachs of people who live far away or existed long ago.

Over the past year I also realized that a dish of food could be deconstructed—that each component could be traced back to different roots and that they carried different stories. Each bite can offer something along the lines of time travel into the past of each ingredient and the memories inherent in different foods.

I’ve traveled and written of travels and how food informed me about a place. In Albany I dreamed big while attempting to glean the gems of the Albany dining scene—the restaurants that help to satiate the growing foodie population in the Capital Region. In Hawaii I experienced perfection on the beach. In New York I tasted decadence. I reflected on delicate Loch Fyne oysters in England. The world quivered in each bite in each dish in each restaurant or kitchen—it filled the food with connections to lives and loves and births and deaths. Each little ingredient reacting to and experiencing the circumstances of the world until it eventually make its way to be eaten by you.

On this blog I also introduced the songs and quotes of the week to feature others who have reflected on food or created art that is crafted around the experience of eating. We’ve read the words of people throughout the ages who have waxed eloquent on food and eating, and we’ve listened to songs by musicians whose topics ranged from strawberry fields to eating grits for dinner to cooking breakfast for the one she loves.

For restaurant reviews I linked my blog to Urbanspoon, which has yielded over a thousand views by complete strangers. The numbers are bit mind boggling to me, as the current count is 789 views of my Hawaii restaurant reviews, 68 for Albany, and 308 for New York City, but I have to admit it’s pretty sweet.

I wrote of food in the context of various topics, such as sex, painting, and memory. Is there anything that food can’t be connected with? Does it not weave seamlessly into our lives? These connections will continue to be topics on this blog, and I’m always open to new suggestions from all you foodies out there.

Overall it’s been a good year for writing about food. There have been plenty of tasty meals, great people, and amazing times in my feast of life. And I’m sure there’s much more of it all headed my way…

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