Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Our co-op dispersed for the holiday, so no Thanksgiving recipes here, but we'll be back to start eating and blogging through the winter CSA next week.

I think I speak for all of our house when I say that we were thankful for our CSA all summer long -- particularly in this very difficult farming year. It's been such a joy to have a surplus of beautiful, local, organic, lovingly-grown vegetables in our house every week and to have wonderful, creative, like-minded people to share them with, both in our co-op kitchen and through this blog.

In that spirit, a couple of Thanksgiving weekend treats for our friends and readers.

First, a visual one: I can't imagine anyone is hungry today, but I was recently pointed to two websites -- Tastespotting and Foodgawker -- that collect drool-worthy food photos (and recipes) from around the web. I've been using their search features to collect visual inspiration when we have a surfeit of a particular ingredient (say, cabbage).

Second is one of the loveliest pieces of food writing I've read in some time, a piece on why we use cookbooks (and much more), by Adam Gopnik in this week's New Yorker. It's by turns rambling, grouchy, digressive, and difficult, but the writing is poetic and rich in metaphor throughout.

I think Gopnik's idea of the recipe as a very limited proxy for what we're really looking for when we cook and eat gets at the reason why, on a small scale, our co-op's community begins in the kitchen, and on a large scale, why sharing food is such a powerful social experience.

And this may not read as well out of context -- or if you don't find yourself in the particular situation of falling in love with your sous chef -- but this bit is one of my favorites.
After reading hundreds of cookbooks, you may have the feeling that every recipe, every cookbook, is an attempt to get you to attain this ideal sugar-salt-saturated-fat state without having to see it head on, just as every love poem is an attempt to maneuver a girl or a boy into bed by talking as fast, and as eloquently, as possible about something else. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate” is the poetic equivalent of simmering the garlic with ginger and Sauternes before you put the cream in; the end is the cream, but you carefully simmer the garlic.
I think Gopnik is talking about the project of being human: that our base motivations may be food or sex, but what life is really about is the brilliantly oblique projects that we undertake to get there -- making a carrot mousse, writing a blog post, carefully simmering the garlic.

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