Secretly in my heart, I believe food is a doorway to almost every dimension of our existence. ... Food never was just food. From the time a cave person first came out from under a rock, food has been a little bit of everything: who we are spiritually as well as what keeps us alive. It's a gathering place, and in the best of all worlds it's possible that when people of one country sit down to eat another culture's food it will open their minds to the culture itself. Food is a doorway to understanding, and it can be as profound or as facile as you would like it to be.
Isn't food important? Why not "universal food coverage"? If politicians and employers had guaranteed us "free" food 50 years ago, today Democrats would be wailing about the "food crisis" in America, and you'd be on the phone with your food care provider arguing about whether or not a Reuben sandwich with fries was covered under your plan.
Food is "everyday"-it has to be, or we would not survive for long. But food is never just something to eat. It is something to find or hunt or cultivate first of all; for most of human history we have spent a much longer portion of our lives worrying about food, and plotting, working, and fighting to obtain it, than we have in any other pursuit. As soon as we can count on a food supply (and so take food for granted), and not a moment sooner, we start to civilize ourselves.
[I]t's an honor to be a food stamp president. Food stamps feed the hungry. Food stamps save the children. Food stamps help the farmer. Food stamps help the truck driver. Food stamps help the warehouse. Food stamps help the store. Food stamps hire people and feed people. Food stamps save people from starvation and malnutrition. ... Give President Barack Obama a big hand. Show your love. Show your appreciation.
Somewhere between 50 to 60 percent of the food you eat has been touched by immigrant hands, and it is fair to say some of them are not here as they should be here. But if you didn't have these folks, you would be spending a lot more - three, four or five times more - for food, or we would have to import food and have all the food security risks.
Those of us who think about what we eat, how it's grown, those of us who care about the environmental impact of food - we've been educated by fabulous books, like Fast Food Nation and documentaries like Food Inc. But despite these and other great projects that shine a critical light on the topic, every year the food industry spends literally tens of millions of dollars to shape the public conversation about our food system.
Bad food is made without pride, by cooks who have no pride, and no love. Bad food is made by chefs who are indifferent, or who are trying to be everything to everybody, who are trying to please everyone... Bad food is fake food... food that shows fear and lack of confidence in people's ability to discern or to make decisions about their lives.
Cooking is a holistic process of planning, preparing, dining and sharing food. I place food at the center of our humanity, as it nourishes not only our physical bodies but also our emotional and spiritual lives. Food is truly a cultural phenomenon that informs our traditions and our relationship with the earth. I genuinely believe that food connects us all.
Personally, I have been very impressed by the slow food movement. It is about celebrating the culture of food, of sharing the extraordinary knowledge, developed over millennia, of the traditions involved with quality food production, of the sheer joy and pleasure of consuming food together. Especially within the context of family life, this has to be one of the highest forms of cultural activity.
Let's get one thing straight: Mexican food takes a certain amount of time to cook. If you don't have the time, don't cook it. You can rush a Mexican meal, but you will pay in some way. You can buy so-called Mexican food at too many restaurants that say they cook Mexican food. But the real food, the most savory food, is prepared with time and love and at home. So, give up the illusion that you can throw Mexican food together. Just understand that you are going to have to make and take the time.
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