America currently has an obsession with food; always trying to find the next great ingredient, always wondering what the next wonder diet will be. Why? Why is it that people have this desire to know all they can about food?
It must be more than sustenance because if it were just that, we would only eat what we need, and then move on. And people do that! Some care more for their job or some other thing than about what they're putting into their mouth. But then, what of those whose lives who revolve around food? Like chefs or suppliers, farmers and butchers, anyone whose life heavily involves food?
I wish I could ask those people what it means to eat well. Those who live in the grind; the line cook working his first job, the executive chef running the kitchen, the delivery man who brings their vegetables, the farmer who grows them. What does it mean to them to eat well? I wish I could pick the brains of people like James Beard, Edna Lewis, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Gordon Ramsey....those people who dedicate their lives to food, trying to make it better, trying to educate. What would they say?
America has made chefs celebrities. Is that what they've come to? Has our obsession with food come to the point where we make it nothing more than idolatry? Or is there more to it...?
Why do we feel the need to eat well? I don't know that I'll ever come up with an answer, and I wonder if people ever do. Maybe it's because there's no one reason, not just one definition. It means different things to different people. For some, it is just to run their bodies so that they are healthy and function well. But for others, it more. It's the desire to make one dish perfection, the desire to serve that perfection to others and to make them see. It's the desire to bring together all the components which make up that meal, and to share it.
That's just one definition that I'm sure will change as time goes on. As we grow older, sharing food with different friends and family; sharing as the goals in life change and the times. Who knows what the answer might be one year from now, two, five, twenty.....I suppose we'll find out.
How would you answer?