When I was 25 I got a job in a fancy kitchen, the fanciest kitchen I'd ever seen, and the chef there introduced me to the Slow Food movement, to the importance of local and sustainable agriculture, and to a number of farmers who would bring their produce to the back door of our kitchen. Needless to say, I was shocked when my chef returned to the restaurant with a sack of hamburgers from Burger King and invited his cooks to eat lunch. Having listened to him speak in hushed and reverent tones about the chicken we sourced from an Amish poultry farmer and the goat cheese we sourced from a farm in the hills, I found it difficult, for a moment, to understand how he could eat and enjoy with equal but different relish, here a hamburger produced by a corporation with known, dubious practices, and there a glass of champagne, a sliver of Parmesan Reggiano, a dribble of sixty-year old balsamic vinegar, and a spear of locally grown and perfectly blanched asparagus. Dave quickly dispelled the cognitive dissonance and said, John boy, hamburgers are good, too, which of course is true and untrue. However sickly, there is grace in a sack of hamburgers, and we should not let our privilege blind us. Dave was not teaching me to turn my back on the problems that beset our food system, nor was he teaching me to shun the middle of the road. He was teaching me to take in the whole and to think about how the parts of the whole relate to one another. I ate that hamburger eleven or twelve years ago. I dipped my french fries into a wad of Heinz ketchup and went back to my station on the line, educated.
But of course I have turned my nose up here and there, and I have definitely become excited and ranted. I have put down corporate food and trumpeted the importance of D.I.Y. food culture, but when presented with a Costco burger and on the side a neon green pickle made by Vlasic, I have not turned to the person offering me the food and said, Oh no, I will not eat those hideous foods. Don't you know who I am? Haven't you read my blog? If there has been any misunderstanding, I hope this post has cleared it up. Additionally, over the month of August I also hope to display some of my favorite photographs that have appeared on this blog. I want to give my readers who have enjoyed these pictures (or any other pictures that have appeared here) a chance to order prints of them, about which I'll say more later.
Okay, thanks as always for reading. I'll be back again soon. There is more I want to say before me and Oilchanges say goodbye.