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Monday, March 12, 2012

table of elements of life

The title is a little indicator that I am a little bit of a science nerd, but the subject is one close to my heart. The table I speak of is not one of atomic weights and elements but the one we eat our meals at, or forget to eat at.
The Dinner table is one of the most unifying objects in your home. It is a place to be one with your family or those you care about, to share not only a meal but substance. There are many things taught at this table that have lasting effects. It is where we learn how and what to eat, it is where we find home and comfort. It is a place of reunion, after the wearing effect of the outside world. It is a refuge.
In today's fast paced world we forget how unifying food can be. It is the meal that draws us together, that warms are hearts and our bellies, and in this we find common ground worldwide.
As I look at my children, with one begging for dessert, and the other smashing food into her face and hair, I have to smile at the innocence of them. I have to be honest, I like many parents sometime do not always feel this way, when I think about the food on the floor, tray, table, clothes and hair. Or that, it will be me having to clean up this mess. I don't always wax poetic or idealistic when I toil over ways to get my 3 year old to eat her veggies or finish a meal. Not to mention the mess and all the dishes and pot and pans that have to be cleaned, after making said meal. But I need to keep the perspective of how i am influencing the way my children eat, and what they eat, right here at this wooden table. The food culture and the future of good cooking and taste traditions begins here, and will continue to influence not only my children but theirs. Am I living up to, not only my standards, but those who have gone before me in my family? It is a heavy thought.
i admit I come from a broken family, but one rich in food culture. I am Latin. I have many memories, sitting next to my mother as she made fresh handmade tortillas, waiting anxiously for one hot off the comal as she spread butter and jam and rolled it up and sent me on my way. Or when I was sick with flu or cold nothing healed me as much as hot arroz con leche.
On the other hand, I was an only child, with a single working mother. I ate many meals alone or rushed out the door, or boxed, frozen, nuked, or in a bag with a side of fries too. The stark polarity of the contrast   between the two experiences, not only mold my ideas of the effect of food, but garner an appreciation of the power it holds. It made me understand that food holds and conveys a piece of who we are.
As you go about your week, cook a meal with heart, and share it with your family or friends and convey your care for them through food, unity and conversation around your table. Create memories, Continue your culture, Renew your bonds, and heal the effects of todays world. You can change the way we live, eat, and love, one bite at a time.
Keep it real, Keep it fresh, Keep it sustainable

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