Thoughts for Fall

That day arrived a week or so ago when you know it’s no longer summer; school started at Northern a couple weeks ago and my two Composition classes seem excellent — good to be back after a year away from teaching; the fall harvest and canning has begun — a tomato harvest unprecedented for me here in the U.P.; the hummingbirds have flown south while the ravens and osprey circle in flocks I’ve never seen here at camp.

My father had a TIA the evening of Labor Day.

His function has returned, but the tests ensue to determine if he should have surgery on a 60%+ occluded carotid artery.  His Lions are not helping his blood pressure as at this writing the Colts have pulled within 3 after a very good Lions first half.

And with all that, food seems to dominate my thoughts as I endeavor to get back into writing my memoir.  A few paragraphs from it:

In the Introduction to my Larousse Gastronomique (which professes itself “the World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia”), it refers to the history of gastronomy as “the story of those who took part in its evolution and [who are] responsible for establishing what is, in effect, one of the cornerstones of civilization.  Gastronomy reflects society, and studying [it] provides a glimpse of the history of society itself.”  Gastronomy, it goes on to say, “is not static.  Like music and the visual arts, it has never ceased to evolve.”

So this memoir revolves around food.  The things we did to one another, the tragedies and failures of our lives, the successes, such as they were, revolved around the things we ate.  Food kept us together, but maybe as important, the particular likes and ways in which we ate this food and drank our libations — the style each of us chose to prepare food for one another –also set us apart as individuals.  It revealed us to one another sometimes in ways we regretted, revealed character in the same way someone’s character is revealed in how they play a poker hand, or the choices they make in appearance—or the music they are drawn to.  However, food’s influence and tendency to reveal character is greater than in any other aspect because one can choose to not play poker, listen to music, engage in sexual activities, or even wear clothes … but one cannot choose not to eat.  

We weren’t, you know, any of us in my family, responsible for “establishing the cornerstones of civilization” in relation to the culinary arts or otherwise, but it is true that food and drink not only reflected who we were, but, for better or worse, influenced and informed who we became.







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