I've worked in many facets of the Ontario food and service industry for several years. It has brought me to many places, and had me encounter several of the best people that I have ever met. Line cooks, chefs, farmers, musicians, bartenders, 25-to-life servers of small town bar circuits, equipment technicians, the Amish - there are many people that comprise the many aspects to the food you and I eat, how its grown, stored, prepared and consumed.
It's astonishing how much physical and emotional torment, craft and dedication, and most importantly attention to detail goes into what I think is one of the most undervalued institutions of our society. My partner is a farmhand; during the month of August she handpicks corn for 6 to 8 hours a day. Her hands look like shit. They are cracked and calloused, papercut from the leaves of the corn plant, and permanently dirty. Her neck hurts, her back hurts.
She and I go to market with our farmer friend and sell the corn for 50 cents a cob, or five dollars a dozen. People are going to peek into the corn, and there is no way around that, and sometimes they put a cob back and walk away. I've developed a special interest in those cobs that are put back. It must be ingrained in our behavioral wirings, but nobody will take a cob of corn that has been slightly opened already, no matter the reason. It becomes a pariah cob, a sick whore past prime, and a complete loss for the farmer. 5% of the time when I look at the cob there is a worm, or some fucked up corn that looks like your buddies face after it got bashed in with a bottle. The other 95% of the time its missing one or two kernels at the very top of an otherwise completely full, beautiful cob of corn. A luscious, near-perfect, sweet cob of corn that some inconsiderate motherfucker has ruined because of the very very topmost kernels that they wouldn't eat anyway. Its not dissimilar from when somebody sends back a perfectly good plate of food at the restaurant because they were too shit stupid to properly read the menu.
I guess, on some level, this blog is going to be about food literacy. Not because I have a pressing desire to write a blog about food literacy, but because this is the sort of thing that hangs me up inside. What I'd like it to be about are the awesome people I have had the opportunity to meet and work with, what they do, and how they are classical heroes that still walk under heavens occupied by ancient gods. Probably spiced with some music, Marxism and the Americana and Canadiana that I'm into.
Friday, 2 August 2013
"It doesn't matter if you have no head, you must wear the right sort of hat... It's a crazy old world!" - Zorba
You know, I strongly doubt that there will be any purpose to this blog. I expect, with some past evidence, that it will see one or two posts and then fizzle out, leaving behind floating bits of spent cyber-space carbon or whatever. If I could say I had a thesis, or variations on a theme, it would be my slow attempt at recovery from a life lived too much in the mind.