“One cannot think well, love well or sleep well, if one has not dined well” ~ Virginia Woolf
I have really done a deep dive into food. Among projects, I have created & built a full service organic catering company, designed & built six commercial kitchens, spent countless hours on organic & biodynamic farms, designed and built two cafes, created many menus of the edible and drinkable kind, designed and written whole wellness nutrition programs for both men & women and after all this, I still love to cook.
For The Love Of Food
In the book, The Women That Run With The Wolves, (by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes) she tells a story that goes like this..
“An old witch from Ranchos told me that La Que Sabe knew everything about women, that La Que Sabe had created women from a wrinkle on the sole of her divine foot: This is why women are knowing creatures; they are made, in essence, of the skin of the sole, which feels everything. This idea that the skin of the foot is sentient had a ring of a truth, for an acculturated Kiché tribeswoman once told me that she’d worn her first pair of shoes when she was twenty years old and was still not used to walking ‘con los ojos vendados’, with blindfolds on her feet.”
It’s the last four words of this that really got me thinking. Has the simple act of feeling become obsolete? is it a story to be told for the future? Is it resigned to the archives of folk law?
We wear layer upon layer of clothing, to separate from the climate. We separate ourselves from our neighbors behind fences and locked doors. We use technology to remove our natural imperfection (sometimes referred to as the things ‘wrong’ with us).
We package our food up in plastic bags and metal tins and send it so far from its origin that its hard to know where anything actually comes from anymore. We tell our children to separate from desire – sit still and be quite – when the natural choice would be dance and sing; We shy away from engaging in deep conversations with strangers, let alone eye contact and this sometimes even applies to people we know yet as humans we desire deep connection above all else.
And rarely, ever so rarely do we touch; I mean the skin of your body, touching with the world around it.
I love looking for the simple truth in things. The simple solution. The simple answer, and food is a topic I have considered at length. The thing is, most of the time, to see the simplicity of the matter you need to take in the complexity of the big picture. When I look at the big picture of food, the simple truth is that almost all of the issues relating to nourishment (from lack there of, misunderstanding of, manipulation of and degeneration of) arises from disconnect.
People have disconnected from themselves, and as a result they have disconnected from the basic principles of nourishment.
So back to the soles of our feet. This got me thinking, if this is true of the feet; then what is the calling of our hands?
In modern society it is the fortunate minority that gets the privilege to partake in the experience of feeling, skin to earth, the creating of the food that is to nourish them. The sliding of your hands slowly down into the earth, letting life run through your fingers, feeling an entire ecosystem vibrate its song of life in your hands, for it is in the act of planting a seed that all things come to life. You make love.
The hand that grows the food makes love to the earth.
Perhaps in an ideal world we would all partake and be responsible for our own nourishment from seed to reseed but the world we currently live in is not ideal… I ask then, how do we connect? How do we connect with the food that nourishes us in a world that continues to plant seeds of disconnection? The simple solution… we can touch.We can eat with our hands!
Have knives, forks, spoons, chopsticks, straws and spatulas dealt us the most unthinkable of disservice? Have these utensils of disconnection between our food and our bodies laid the foundation of the ultimate path to self-destruction of our individual nourishment?
When was the last time you sat down to some creamy warm potato mash? The flowery texture balanced by butter, cream, water, salt..
When was the last time you sat down to some cream mash, reached out your hand, bypassed your fork or spoon and slid your hand right into the bowl. Can you feel it? The warmth, almost too hot, but not too hot to keep your hand in there.. the creamy mixture sliding in-between your fingers, the small lumps sticking to the palm of your hand.. Then with a slow steady motion you pull your hand back with a scoop, hold it up to your mouth, slide out your tongue and lick.
Forget the Instagram photos of your morning smoothie in a jar, this is the real food porn.
Sorry.. back to the story.
All of a sudden something strange will happen. All of a sudden you will feel your food. All of a sudden with one foul scoop of mash, you are connected. I was asked to write about decadent food. The first thought I had was, “all food is decadent”, shortly followed by a second thought.. “is it”? The truth is, all food has its own unique beauty and magic but the decadence, that my friends is deep within the connection.
I dedicate much of my time to working out ways of bridging the gap between people, and the food that nourishes them. I sometimes find myself wanting to sing it out to all I meet. I talk about integrity, about its origins, its story, and its history. I talk of its journey, its keepers, and its medicinal magic, but I know, none of this is heard.
Nothing really sticks, until that moment.
I know you all know what I mean by this. Everyone has had one. The moment when what you eat stops time, it stops all other thoughts, all the future, all the past fades away and all that remains is the sensation that you have in that moment with that food. It’s the wide eyed, cant talk, never want it to end moment.
The cry of joy.
The OH MY GOD.
That is the connection between the individual and the nourishment. It is love.
Before you have that moment of connection with a lover, the history, information and education of them, is nice but it passes like other information that holds no relevance for you. However when you connect, when there is love, it is as though your brain is rewired to hear of and learn about nothing or no one else. This is connection.
I have included a wholesome recipe below for your cooking pleasure. Its summer where I am so berries are in, however *I have included some details of lemon & lime so it can be made in winter too. Eat it at room temperature (not cold from the fridge) with nothing but your hands and some people you love.
In fact, it would please me so, if you were to create somewhat of an affair of it all.. Bake anything you love, what ever that is, be it steak or mash (I know you all want some!) fruit dipped in chocolate or cookies and cream… why not cook a whole meal. Then set your table. Make it a special event, put napkins, your best silverware, plates & cutlery on the table. Invite friends and family for your special feast. When its time to eat, and the food is served ask everyone to stand up. Then reach in and with complete abandonment, eat with your hands! Stand, sit, sit on the floor, hell why not sit on the table, throw a spoon or two over your shoulder, feed each other with your hands, lick each others fingers..
This is decedent food. Absolute all out, over the top decadence, and then watch yourself fall in love.
With what you ask?
With your food.. yes, this will happen
With each other, yes, that is bound to happen too (finger licking can lead to all sorts of emotional exchanges)
With yourself… that’s right. And this is where all connection starts.
Tag me in your photos if you dare to share !!
STRAWBERRY CASHEW CAKE
440 g cashews – soaked overnight in mineral/ spring water
500g strawberry sauce
50 ml lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
350 g honey or (100g xylitol)
270 ml coconut oil, melted
160 g activated almonds
90 g desiccated coconut
6 stoned medjool dates
Pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
500g Strawberries frozen
250g honey or (100g zylitol)
250g Strawberries frozen
100g honey or (100g zylitol)
Mixed nuts to serve (I use pistachio)
Base: Process the nuts and coconut until broken up to a nice crumble and then add the dates and when your mixture comes together and holds well it’s ready.
NOTE: If you over process the nuts will release a little too much oil and it will become oily.
Strawberry Sauce: Place strawberry and honey into a saucepan and simmer until reduced, puree strain and cool.
Cake: Blend the cashews, vanilla and salt. The mixture will be thick and hard to mix so stop the blender and give it a stir using a plastic spatula. Now add the honey, the warmed coconut oil. Blend that into your cheesecake mix and you will see it will become more fluid. Blend until smooth and has the texture of cream and adjust to taste. Mix in strawberry sauce. Pour the mixture onto the crust. Remove air bubbles by tapping the pan on the table.
Topping: Place strawberry and honey into a saucepan and simmer until reduced, puree strain and cool. Eating: With your hands please!
*For Lemon/ Lime option – replace the strawberry sauce with: 420 g lemon &/ or lime juice1 teaspoon each of lemon & lime zest. Add the lemon, lime & zests to the main nut cake mix – once combined, while the mixed is running slowly add 270g of melted coconut oil & mix to combine.
Note – This blog first appeared on Nabalo – you should check out their site, it’s full of all things wonderful & wellness.