“B! Don’t Play with your food”

4 May

Today was an interesting day!  I was out for my morning Quad Venti Non-Fat Three Splenda Latte and my cup of what my barista friends call “Star-meal” (Starbucks Oatmeal) and as I was enjoying my Lincon Park, Metallica, Mechanisms of a False Reality mix, I saw something I have yet to see here at Johnson & Wales.  SPRING!  Well, kind of.  I ran across this cute little guy.

And I got curious.  I wanted to know just how close he’d let me get. So I put my things on the sidewalk and I got down low and I walked over to him.  As you can see from the picture, he let me get pretty close. maybe…10 feet. This is gonna sound weird and some of you are gonna call me names but he stopped from his snack and just as I was taking a picture…he looked up and posed (see above).  I snapped a couple pictures for Instagram and FaceBook and then…like he knew what I was doing…he just looked straight at me…call it what you want…the touch of God, nature and I sharing a moment, a chemical imbalance…whatever it was…for an instant, he and I were on the same page…Then he went back to munching. shot a little video and he and I both went on about our day.

All day long I was thinking about my new friend.  How those few moments had real significance in my life.  How amazing it felt to be reminded that the things we harvest from the Earth are living and breathing things.  I can’t tell you how many rabbits I’ve hunted or how many Rabbit Ragus I’ve cooked and eaten here at JWU. It made me thing about how so very badly I want to dive for scallops and experience them in their natural habitat.  How humbling it is to break down a live lobster and see it’s heart beating on the cutting board and how much it pisses me off when people play games with them, standing them on their heads poking them, flipping them over and such.  Or how much I want to cram a carrot up someone’s ass when I see them throw them boxes and bags of veg across the cooler.

I’m not becoming a tree hugging hippy, and I’m certainly NOT turning vegetarian!  But when I was growing up, my mama taught me not to play with my food.  I know that’s not QUITE what she meant but it’s important that we teach others and that we learn for ourselves, that those things have lives of their own and that even the carrots are living things and someone put hard work into harvesting them from the Earth.  Someone had to clean them, trim them, put them on a truck, drive them to the store.   Someone had to shelve them and make them available for me to purchase and consume.  When we disrespect the food…we disrespect those people as well!

It’s not being soft. It’s not being a pansy. It’s respect.  Just like that rabbit had respect for me in the flower garden and he let me get close and take his picture.  We as culinarians should…no…MUST HAVE respect for the things we harvest from the earth and respect for the labor that other humans put into bringing those things to the market or our table.  Because the day is going to come that those things are not going to be around anymore if we neglect them.

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