Friday, November 23, 2007

Baby steps toward a tasty life

Alice Waters came to my office last week. Well, not my individual office but to the CDC campus to give a talk on food and health. Alice Waters is the famed chef/owner of Chez Panisse and founder of the Edible Schoolyard Project and huge figure in the movement to support local, organic and sustainable agriculture. Brian and I went to her restaurant many years ago as part of our San Francisco vacation. We both still remember that meal. It was beautiful, simple and soul nourishing.

Alice talked about food as spiritual nourishment and how America's obsession with speed has left our children at once malnourished and obese. She said so many wise things during her talk but this concept of the connection between eating good food and having a good life really struck a cord with me. Most of my best memories in life bloom around my grandmother's kitchen table and making slow foods like chicken and dumplings at her side.

When my grandmother was dying a couple of years ago she repeatedly told me how blessed she was and how GOOD her life had been. Her conviction about this gave me a lot to think about during her long journey toward death. She didn't graduate from high school (she finished 11th grade and then married my grandfather), nor did she have a prestigious job (she was a secretary for a life insurance agent).

She did have a basic kitchen and cooked with basic tools (no Cuisnart or Viking stove). Despite these factors, that our consumerist society would look upon mostly with disappointment, she was confident that she had been given the BEST life. She KNEW it.

Her life was Simple, Slow and Satisfying and SO much of it was about Food.

My mind wandered back and forth between Alice Water's talk and my grandmother's kitchen that day as I weighed the lessons that both women preached. Rushing around to catch the prizes of our world (a flashy home, a fancy job and expensive foods) leaves Brian and I pretty empty handed most of the time but when I take the time to cook good food our circumstances always seem a little bit brighter and our struggles with two small children, demanding careers and a lack of space seem a little less extreme when the meal is done.

So in homage to these two important figures in my journey for a tasty life I went to the morningside farmer's market and met some farmers, and bought their vegetables and carted it home to make some food that was spiritually nourishing.

Here are some pictures of the vegetables I bought and the girls checking them out. The recipes I used to cook the vegetables will be posted soon. :) Enjoy!


amyschlot said...

I am so jealous that Alice Waters came to CDC!!!! I also am jealous that you have eaten at her restaurant. It's on my list if I ever get to CA. :) Amy

Nicole said...

You are the first person to leave a comment on my blog. Hip Hip Hooray! I am official.

Now I just have to figure out how to make it happen again and again and again. :)