Monday, June 7, 2010

Bread......and friendship.

I nearly had a heart attack reading an ice-cream label had 27 ingredients. Twenty-seven.

I have few addictions. Good martinis, butter...lobster. (hmmm...some of those certainly go together) The smell of paint and sunshine...herbs. I subscribe to a single magazine--Saveur. Honestly, I can immerse myself for hours in pages of wild chanterelles, lemongrass, and olives; luscious ideas of tantalizing taste and scrumptious possibility. Last month they had 14 recipes for bloody marys...and chocolate gravy. Yet there seems to be a single remarkable theme...real food. Untainted.

We pay a dollar more for the mac and cheese that doesn't have "yellow #12" in it; even more for free range chickens fed on grains and worms and grass. We buy jars of peanut butter that only last a month and I am obsessed with my butcher who actually cuts my steaks in front of me--two inches thick and marbled enough to make me bite my lower lip and inhale softly in anticipation of the tender feast that awaits.

The age of MSG. It put american-chinese food on the map....and is now the number one anti-advertisement: "delicious with no msg!" Tv dinners, microwave magic, cereal that "has a full day's vitamins in one bowl." (shudder) As our technology surged, we reveled in our modern intelligence, our clever short-cuts to facilitate a new world with a new definition of family. No longer was it even feasible to awake with the dawn and mix and knead the yeast into loaves that needed 6 hours on the back of a warm oven to rise and then bake. Instant was good...filling was better. We applauded, we rationalized. And then....

There was this slow....missing.

Like a summer's night without fire flies. Autumn without leaves...Christmas without stockings. Blame it on doubts...on science, disease scares...on texture. We found ourselves with plastic trays and mushy pasta, mediocrity leaving us hungry ten minutes after the meal for lack of sustenance. The epic death of taste buds.


Why does it we now submerge ourselves in a sea of organic and natural and pure...that we have somehow escalated the fraudulent lives we lead? We rave over unpasteurized goat cheese and fire roasted lamb with figs while we permeate our relationships with additives, enhancements...garnishes. Our media, our politicians...our families. I have found myself smiling at a party even as I swallowed garish sallow compliments. I've entertained complete frauds. I've been guilty of accepting the synthetic. I've even dished it out...with cilantro.

It seems that the real...the pure relationships are...sparse. Is it just that I'm older? More discriminating? Less patient?

As I muddled garam masala and fresh garlic in a mortar and pestle this afternoon, preparing to sear and roast--I found myself contemplating my recent dissatisfaction in my personal relationships. I have rushed. I have microwaved entirely too often. I have settled for instant.

Friendship....real and true and honest friendship...needs yeast, not baking soda.