Wednesday, November 03, 2010

In Praise of Food

Not many words bring as much comfort as the word food. It comes a close second to the word family (and I suspect an overlap). And might even trump the word home—especially in this semi-rootless society where most everyone is stumped when asked where they’re from!

For one, food takes one back to fond memories of childhood--remember that memorable scene in the movie Ratatouille when food critic Anton Ego first came to the Gusteau's restaurant? One forkful of the simple, unassuming ratatouille and the hardened Ego was instantly transported to tranquil childhood days when home-cooked food was equivalent to being wrapped in his mother’s soft loving arms.

In different ways—some more dramatic and some less than Ego’s experience—food has that comforting effect on us. I can still taste the full-bodied Cantonese pork rib soup my mom used to whip up in the kitchen and remember how she accidentally got as kids drunk when she spiked the soup with whiskey (the taste wasn’t strong enough, she said) and was too impatient to let the alcohol evaporate first before serving. To date, that is still the best soup I have ever tasted. Hic!

Adjectives like scrumptious, crispy, succulent, luscious and delectable are enough to make one’s eyes glaze over and one’s mouth water—and food is not even mentioned with these adjectives! That’s how elemental food is in our psyche and thus how powerful.

On the downside, the absence of comfort also reveals itself glaringly in food—how many a mighty Fear Factor champion, having jumped tall buildings and wrestled with crocs, shrink into nerveless cowards in the face of the almighty balut? How many a courageous missionary, having left home and hearth to live for Christ in a foreign land find their determination in shambles in the face of eerily strange tastes that seem too insidiously corrupt their palates?

Food is also a neutral witness that somehow finds a way of insinuating itself into the ebb and flow of life and relationships. Even as it reveals one’s cowardice and tests one’s limits. It has also seen friendships formed, romances kindled—or rekindled, and families reunited. It has seen wounded spirits soothed, broken hearts healed (read: chocolates) and happiness deepened into joy.

Even when you hate the food your good friend adores (read: durian), you accept the difference and embrace the uniqueness and diversity of life that food symbolizes in reckless joyful abandon.

More than putting a man on the moon, I think food is the greatest of man’s invention and the one of best representations of the grace of God—you know, that awesome Guy who whipped up manna in the desert and turned water into wine?


PS. Yes, my dear Blogmates, I am back-and hopefully with more consistency! :) I realized I missed blogging. Will make my visits soon! xx


Anonymous said...

Gypsy. What a delicious way for you to start blogging again. Yes, food is more than just uhrm food. Cooking can be an expression of love. And gathering together at the table is companionship that warms, cheers up, satisfies. (These days, my family gathers together so seldom that the rare all-present family dinner is almost like Christmas) And yes, it is best when you do so in the conscious presence of a generous God from Whom all bounty comes.

By the way, that crisis I wrote about -- it has blown over. She will be fine. - annamanila

Sreisaat said...

Woohooo!!! Welkam back, Gypsy! And what a nice comeback post. Is it a coincidence or what, but I was actually watching the movie Ratatouille over the cable channel when I visited your blog recently. Imagine my surprise when I saw your post today - o, serendipity ba ang tawag dun? I'm glad you are back, my friend =)

ipanema said...


miss u dearrie! and what a great comeback post you have...and my fave topic. you're making me crave for that cake.

thanks for dropping by. really appreciate you still remember the old woman. :)

welcome back!

carlotta1924 said...

hey gypsy girl, welcome back to the blogging world! :)

awesome post. and also right now i'm looking at your food album. should stop, makes me want to eat again, but noooo, should see everything! lol

Major Tom said...

Succulent post Gypsy, it's a classic and I've read none other as clever as this, in terms of essays on food...more power, and besides being the greatest invention ever, 'who could live without it?' :-)

annalyn said...

Gypsy! you just made me wanting to ransack the fridge AS IN right now! :)

Welcome back and thanks for this succulent post as Major Tom said :)

Gypsy said...

Hi All,

So great to "see" you all back! Thanks for the warm welcome!