I’ve just returned from the the 2012 Edible Institute (#edi2012), a yearly food conference held by the visionary founders of the Edible Communities magazines (for whom I am so humbly employed). The conference hosted speakers from all walks of foodie-ism and featured a plethora of splendid eats and ideas. Returning home I am exhausted, inspired, and thinking about my own goals as a writer.
I started this blog as a chronicle of my food lunacy. I realized I was getting into all kinds of trouble and I thought someone else might get a kick out of it. Looking back, I think a few people did, but mainly my friends and family (who have already learned how to cope with my special condition). But as I review my body of work, I realize there is a thread tying it all together.
Beneath it all was a desire to really understand my food. The physicist Richard Feynman (my hero) said, “What I cannot create, I do not understand.” Now my goal has come into focus: I want to grow, catch, forage, and make as much of my food as possible. If I must purchase a food item, I want to be comfortable that it came from a good source; free of crazy chemicals, human/animal rights abuses, or any other objectionable qualities I haven’t yet thought of. As often as humanly possible, I just want to eat good, fresh, healthy, tasty food.
I understand the magnitude of this goal; built into it is the surety of failure. Just tonight I ate mediocre pizza at a crappy side of the road place an hour north of Seattle. Yesterday, on the way home from the most inspiring food event of my life, I stopped at a roadside Rubios out of sheer hunger. I will fail, often and repeatedly, to know the provenance of every morsel I consume; the key here is to try.
And so I am contemplating a course correction for The Food Lunatic. I will continue my antics in food, but I will take on the lofty goal of providing not just amusement, but also information and hopefully inspiration. At Edible Institute I realized that many passionate writers cross a threshold, moving from mere reporters to activists. It is to this that I aspire. Because in all my previous escapades I have found another underlying thing. Whenever I try something new, be it chickens, home brewing, or just about anything, my grandparents tell me, “We used to do that.”
What happened to food in this country?! We used to be a country of do-it-yourself-ers. We used to eat and drink high quality foods, grown and made at home, and consumed fresh and healthy. Somewhere we got lazy and started wanting our food fast and easy. It got so bad we almost can’t make it back. It has become the American way to eat greasy burgers and drink shitty beer; anyone who refuses is pretentious. Advocates of healthy eating for all, including (gasp) the poor, are called elitist, socialist, and un-American. I want to figure out how this happened and do what I can to reverse the trend.
So stay tuned for changes in this blog. I haven’t figured exactly where to go from here, but at least I now know where I hope to arrive. In the meantime I will continue to log my antics. The latest is buying a share in a goat milk co-op. The lovely lady atop this story is Ghia, my beautiful, charming, milk-yielding (sort-of) pet. She lives with my friend Cari at White Mountains Ranch, and along with her sisters will soon be supplying us with several gallons of milk each week. This new endeavor has only just begun, so (hopefully) soon I’ll have tales of home made goat cheese, yogurt, butter, and cream; there are some challenges in the last 2 so check back to find out.