Feeling loved and accepted and Foodtv.com

I sit here at midnight watching Rachel Ray chatter her way through a 30 minute meal, wondering why I am so obsessed with the close-ups of her knife chopping through garlic, while onions and fennel saute happily in extra virgin olive oil. Have I not had enough cooking over the last few days- and today, with preparations for Purim ongoing, the sweet pastries known as Haman’s ears sit piled into plastic bags ready to be given away on Monday. So now that I have finished cooking, I sit and watch other people cook- maybe it’s the company of hamish activity, and learning new ways of doing routine things. Watching Rachel cook gives me pleasure and makes me feel comforted, profoundly like the way I used to feel watching my grandmother, or my beloved Yiddishe momme prepare her many mouth watering specialties. OK, so pickled herring was NOT my thing, but it was the love and the extra care that went into its preparation that made me suck it up and swallow it. Come to think of it, liver pate did not thrill me to bits either. The cuisine that we crave frequently has an emotionally laden component to it, reminding us of memories that we cherish, or ones that we wish we could lay claim to. Food is an extension of the love and life that we offer to family and friends- the hub around which bonds are forged and strengthened, laughter shared, stories woven into the tapestry of being. When food is abstained from, the hunger that is experienced extends beyond the physical- for “man does not live by bread alone”. It is the hunger for the “I-Thou” encounter, an encounter facilitated so effortlessly in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of table.
A mother lives to nurture, like a tree whose branches reach out to embrace the sky. So why do I watch cooking shows? They always seem to do it so much better- the kitchens are cleaner, the knives, appliances, and ingredients are fresher, crisper, more exotic and intensely colored. And the chefs themselves are beautiful, polished, sophisticated- transmitting an aura of professional artisan-like expertise and awe-inspiring knowledge of nutrition, biochemistry, and clean counter-tops. It’s the counter tops that get me the most. Oh God how I have failed!!!!
Is it the cooking or the fact that Foodtv.com has elevated the status of chief cook and bottle-washer to such exalted heights- and this in an age where the vast majority of people in the developing world are fortunate to eat more than 1 meal per day? I think that for me it is the opportunity to learn new ways of transforming the elements of the earth- God’s bounty for which I am eternally thankful- into celebratory feasts of life. Some of my fondest memories are of times that I have cooked for weekend retreats- and for holiday celebrations, as Geoffrey writes of so descriptively in his book! God opens His hand and provides food for us all in due season, and like any Jewish mother (or non-Jewish for that matter), I am always looking for an opportunity to extend the table, to share the stories, and to weave the fabric that unites the threads of our disparate comings and goings into one vast garment of praise.

One thought on “Feeling loved and accepted and Foodtv.com

  1. Eating can be an act of love. However, deliberately inflicting pain upon yourself is not.Nobody, not even a bad host, not even an Imma, would want to clog Barnelia.Think about it.

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