Where we come from, love, affection and dedication are all demonstrated by food. We make sure that our loved ones have access to only the best of the best. We keep conviction in the fact that a long day in the kitchen makes for a meal that just tastes better. We believe that a long road trip to collect organically grown chickens from the source of their birth, life and slaughter equals happiness and health. We know that soup made from one of those chickens will cure anything. We will go to the ends of the earth in search of good flavors and have a wonderful adventure on the journey. And we know that a basket of jars gifted from the fruit cellar are a deep declaration of love.
When I wrote my Valentine's Day cards this year to family members, I used the following theme:
"My love for you can be measured in the following: 2 bushels of peas, 22 quarts of dill pickels, 18 pints of freezer jam, 25 freezer bags of beans, 10 pints of sour cherries, and three bushels of peaches..."
And everyone to whom I sent a similar card knew exactly what I meant.
In pondering our systems of reciprocity based around this food culture, I thought about how we should have a system to include more people in the conversation. The dialouge about food in which we partake is equally as important as sharing the physical items! Eric recently suggested to me that my next career should be as a culinary anthropoligist because the reasons why we eat certain foods together is just as interesting as the fact that we eat them. They create, so to speak, the ties that bind.
Please join me here to begin that dialouge while many of us are far apart. Post your triumphs! Share your recipes! Write about your dinner parties, your romantic breakfasts, your travels, the unique dish you found in that random diner in Pittsburgh, the amazing farmer's market you found in Maine, the little bites of happiness you intend on sharing with others. Share your pictures and stories, share your memories and menus.
Like a jar of homemade pickles or a warm apple pie, share this amongst friends and family.