Journaling the Day

We spent much of the weekend through mid-day on Sunday on our screened porch, soaking in the moderate weather (cool for early June), clear skies, and quiet. On Friday evening, we watched the sky and talked about the planets and the stars. We waited for the full moon to appear high enough and far enough west to see it and, then, there it was. Yesterday, after I made a Tunisian version of chakshuka for breakfast, Mel and I smoked the brisket he had brined and rubbed with a combination of coarsely ground black pepper, ground coriander, mustard powder, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder (the rub ingredients are from my memory, subject to adjustment), preparing it for its next life as pastrami. Janine and Lana spent time outdoors with us. For lunch, Janine made a marvelous lentil salad. Five and a half hours after the smoking began, we took the brisket out and steamed it for an hour or so, until its internal temperature reached almost 202 (we were aiming for 203, but hunger and impatience got the best of us).  I sliced it while Mel sliced the light rye bread he’d made. Once slathered with his home-made mustard and accompanied by his home-made purple kraut, it was a meal! We drank Pinot noir wine and milk stout and tea and talked about our histories and our futures and places we’d been and places we want to see. Mel and I talked about making sausage and smoking fish and sous vide cooking, while Janine and Lana threw in comments here and there. This morning, Janine made a fabulous dish containing eggs and Canadian bacon and who knows what else. And then we talked some more and sat on the porch a little longer and planned the next food fest.

This weekend’s endeavor, focused as it was on food, gave me reason to consider humans’ relationship with food. In particular, I consider my relationship with food. I find it mildly offensive to hear or read statements suggesting people who enjoy food do not realize the depths of their sickness. Seriously, I’ve read assertions that people who have a great interest in food and who spend their time exploring and experimenting with flavors are divorced from reality. Reality, these writers say, is existing on what’s available locally. Moreover, it matters not whether available edibles taste good; it’s only about nutrition and survival. Perhaps that once was true and, maybe, it will be true again. But it is not true for me, today. I feel sorrow that it is true for anyone, anywhere, any time. But I do not feel compelled to sacrifice my enjoyment of food so I can satisfy, instead, someone else’s enjoyment of asceticism. But back to my relationship with food. I tend to eat more than I need. I treat food that tastes good as a reward for my existence. I cannot argue that eating only as much as is necessary for good health should be a goal to which we all should aspire. But while reaching for that goal, I want to enjoy the smaller-than-heretofore-enjoyed portions to the greatest extent possible. I want to savor the combinations of bitter and sweet. I want to experience the clashes, and the happy mergers, between textures. I think it appropriate to bask in the glow of hot peppers and relish the cool satisfaction of fruit sorbet. Above all, I want to share my enjoyment of food and the education it provides my taste buds and my sensory perception with others who have a similar relationship with components of nutrition delivery. 😉

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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