Last night, I caught an episode of Bill Maher. One of his guests was Alice Waters, who is famous for creating the edible schoolyard, wherein children grow, eat, and learn about vegetables they grow on the school yard. In fact, I had helped my daughter, Chloe, plant one at her school last year....not realizing who had influenced this back-to-nature goodness we were participating in.
Alice is also owner of a very well respected restaurant, called Chez Panisse, in California. Her restaurant's website tells her story, books reservations, and sells her many cookbooks. www.chezpanisse.com Although all this seems a few years new to me and others who are now seeing a flurry of books on the subject of REAL Food, Alice had her epiphany about food on a trip to France in the summer of 1964! A pioneer to the movement, I would say.
She is a very relaxed soft spoken person, and in this age of sound bites spit at infomercial speed, Bill Maher seemed a bit perplexed waiting for her thoughts to brim to the surface. Oddly enough, even with the limited outflow from Alice, she made a point that was the most poignant one I've heard. We need to bring the soul back into our food.
There is a reason we join together for meals: Our food feeds us on many levels. It is a social gathering; when else do we have time to smile, listen, and laugh with our families? Our food feeds our bodies for growth, sustenance, and healing. However, there is another level not discussed often: Our spiritual connection to our food and each other.
My husband comes from a big Iitalian family. I always admired how the family came alive around the food in his home. It was more than just something to consume....it was a party...always. The food had been cooked mostly from scratch and all Italian. Lots of meats and fish and cheese. I'll skim over the fact that there was white pasta served, because that was the way and did not detract from this soul filled food.
My own family was partly German. We had a Pot Roast that cooked all day to tenderize the meat and add incredible flavor. That was my families "party" food. It always felt special to me and I understood what this food felt like when it entered my stomach. There was a sense of fulfillment that went with the connection we all had with each other and our food.
This is what Alice Waters was referring to: A need to return to a time when food was our connection to who we are. This only comes from food that is first filled with this kind of spirit to start with. REAL Food is food that we have knowledge of where it came from, that is clean and fresh, and this is put together by someone with love. Yes, love adds to the food....more than we can even comprehend.
I doubt a "Happy Meal" could ever bring that true emotion out of anyone, but that is what the corporation is hoping to remind us of. A feeling of being truly happy from our deep connection to our food. It is what has been missing from our homes, our restaurants, and our souls for too long. It is what we truly yearn for when we stare blankly into the open refridgerator, or the menu at a fancy restaurant, or reach out for a healthy cookbook to help us feed ourselves and our families.
A small simple statement with enough impact to open hearts and minds. Yes, feed our body, all the healthy REAL Food we can get our hands on, but once again...Feed Our Soul; this is what our senses are really asking for.