in my dreams

clearly, i am obsessed with riverdog carrot tips,
because i can't seem to stop photographing them :: may, 2010

with each passing day, i'm able to articulate a little bit better what it is i'm doing with myself.

i know this much: more than anything, my work is to bring people together in community around food, because our food is us.

i honestly believe that as a teacher, my work is not to show people how to do things that they have never done or been able to master, but rather to water the seeds of knowledge about how to nourish themselves that were planted by their parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents and never tended to. i know that we all know how to do these simple, beautiful tasks like turning flour and eggs into pasta, or cutting up a chicken to feed your family. this is innate human knowledge, no matter where you come from. and my job is to empower, encourage, and awaken people to use this knowledge practically and on a daily basis.

as a cook, i've been dreaming up a list of what i'd like to happen, in my dreams, each time i gather people around the table for a meal. i want there to be delicious, simple, honest food and good wine. i want good conversation to ensue and friendships to be forged. i want people to fall in love. i want to inspire art and music. and for the good china to be used, linens to be pulled down from the cabinet, candles to be lit and music to be played. i want flowers to be plucked from the yard, herbs to be picked from the planter boxes, and fresh eggs to be pulled from the hen house. and most of all, i want people to leave with the motivation to go on and create another special experience for a different group of folks, so that we can continue to spread these values and create more connection to our food and to each other in our wider communities.

yesterday, aaron shared with me this amazing interview with the poet and zen student jane hirschfield, including some of the following thoughts:
the zen way of practicing with food intersecting with restaurant work is that it is all completely about mindfulness and mindfulness in relation to whatever you are doing, whatever activity that is, particularly food.

our relationship to food and eating is a very good microcosm for our relationship to all of life in that it's got to do with appetite, and what we do with appetite. it's got to do with simply what we need, preferably several times a day in order to continue. it has to do with how we navigate our relationship to desire and whether that's going to be blunt or nuanced, generous or stingy, and the deep pleasure of the most basic food: bread, or rice, or a good egg. that is limitless.

how beautiful is that?

and could it be any more true? how we are with our food is a direct reflection of how we are in life (uh, just like how what goes on in our bodies and minds is a microcosm of what goes on in our wider communities, and even the universe. yes, i have spent the past three days engrossed in yoga and tantric philosophical study, if you can't tell).

if i have learned anything over this past year, it's that even in times of uncertainty, generosity begets abundance. when i don't worry about money and follow my heart, money comes, and plenty of it. when i give, i get back so much more. and so, all i am left with is this: giving, loving, generosity, authenticity, connection and community. this is what i want my life to be about.