Saturday, December 5, 2009

Besos from Barcelona!x

Since I never took art history, I can only describe Gaudi's architecture as Gingerbread Modern

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it centers around gratitude. We focus on what we already have rather than on what we want. We travel long distances to embrace and enjoy loved ones over the preparation and consumption of meals that take days to prepare. We stop whatever we are doing to shop and cook. We find ingenious ways to concoct new recipes from leftovers. We slow down and enjoy food and each other.

On this day after the day of feasting, I'm thankful for this blog by Maira Kalman, over at the New York Times, titled Back to the Land. As a lover of food, words, and pictures, I'm happy to find an entry that contains a beautiful message about our food and country at its best.

I recently spoke at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire, and over dinner in the cafeteria, I discussed issues of food with the Environmental Studies professors. They are avid gardeners and hikers, and it is clear that they want to instill this love of all that nature has to offer in their students, but they struggle with this question in a world that embraces convenience. "How do we encourage our students to eat more sustainably?" they asked me, and it is a question I have since been pondering.

I devote an entire chapter of my book to eating healthfully, and I believe that changing our eating habits is one of the easiest ways to change the world. It is no surprise that we develop our eating habits at a young age. If we grow up with a garden, we will grow up loving to prepare and eat the food that it provides. We will want others to experience the same simple joy we derive from our connection to our food.

Of course, not everyone has the land or means for their own garden, and fast food in our current system is often more affordable than its healthier cousins. Kalman explores the correlation between the quality of our food, and sustainable living in our country. She talks to students in Berkley, CA as they grow, harvest, prepare, and enjoy food they have grown. She goes back to New York and visits a school in NYC that is preparing to break ground on a similar project. Where now there is a parking lot, soon there will be a garden.

Esteemed professors in New Hampshire, I believe we have our answer. For those of you interested in the issues surrounding food and the potential solutions, please watch Food, Inc. now on DVD, read Kalman's blog, and wherever you are this holiday weekend, be sure to enjoy your loved ones and your food.

While in Barcelona, my husband and I went to the market and prepared a fresh food feast, replete with local cheese, produce, pasta, and of course wine. Not turkey, but delicious from start to finish!

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