The Poetry of Food
Food is like poetry, deep, elemental and unifying. Something we all experience, but something that can’t quite be expressed in words. The meaning lies in between, in the feeling, the taste. You can describe a taste, the way something feels in your mouth, the profound satisfaction it brings you, but you can never truly impart that feeling or that taste in your mouth. Food, like so many important, fundamental and uniquely human things must be felt, savored and experienced for yourself.
I am a person who Loves food. That’s right capital L, Loves. Food has always been an important part of my life. I learned very early that, at least in my family, food means love. How do you celebrate something wonderful? With an equally wonderful meal of course. Food is simultaneously universal and deeply personal. There is truly nothing more lovely than a meal cooked for you by someone you love. In fact, a great meal, regardless of who cooked it, can be life changing.
Food can expose you to so many new things. Remember your first time trying a new cuisine, maybe it was sushi or who could forget that first bite of salty, sweet and satisfying pizza. Whether you enjoy the new experience or not, the very act of trying it represents an important aspect of tolerance. At worst you’ve successfully narrowed the list of foods you love and at best you’ve discovered something new, exciting and absolutely wonderful.
Food is an experience for the senses. The sounds of cooking, the smells, the visual seduction, the physical action, and of course the tastes. Despite the fact that it is a necessity of human life, eating is also one of the greatest pleasures. I’ve often thought that food is the truest expression of place, but now I also feel that it is the truest expression of humanity. The slow, meticulous approach often required to create some of my favorite foods not only fills me with glee for the final product but also allows me to be immensely grateful to the people who have committed to creating these delicacies for all of us to enjoy.
Food can unite us in inexplicable ways. It can open our eyes to new flavors and even new ways of life. Despite preconceived notions food can be the gateway to understanding other cultures and ultimately bonding us to one another. We all have our differences, big and small, but food, something seemingly so simple, can illuminate our similarities, allowing us to connect in novel and profound ways.
So next time someone offers you a new or different dish, perhaps from an unknown cuisine or even with a few mysterious ingredients, don’t shy away from the experience. Thrust forward eyes open, nostrils flared and mouth gaping. Allow yourself to take part in humankind’s simplest and most important activity, eating. You might be surprised at what you find, both in the food and within yourself.