Food…. at the heart of our culture…a question and not a statement..

I need to write a post…I know I do..somewhere in the back of my cranium are words that want to fly free with the pollen….  What do I want to share?  I’ve no idea, I’ll just write and see what fixes itself into the blizzard of white on my page.  I know what I’d LIKE…I’d like to know about you.  Receive a snippet, a bowl of words that are YOU.  I wish everyone knew the world wants to hear from them.  Not what they think we want to hear but every nuance that builds, forms, moves them like pliable Lego.

San Francisco seems to be the place where I CAN ‘put my finger on it’, the nucleus, epicentre of ME.  Changeable, whimsical, creative, trashy, classy, bland, blinged, boring, exciting, scattered..obsessed…AND most of all OBSESSED with food.  Food has long challenged and delighted me.  From parental battles as a child (they mostly won) to force upon me what they TOLD me to like, to my one-track culinary tunnel vision as a grown-up and sense of my individuality within that.  For me, a self-professed celebate;  it IS LOVE.  An all-encompassing love affair.  It hold the power to make me giggle.  To believe I’m seated in heaven, with a diamond studded napkin and white chocolate (vegan, of course) wings (should heaven have a H in capital…? Hmm).  Food makes my heart yearn and daydream.  It is the doodles on my notepad, the diary dates jotted in pencil, whilst a butterfly flips in my belly….oh dear, is this wrong?  NO!  it is me..I embrace that.  So does San Francisco (embrace its own..not me, though that’d be nice).  San Francisco cultivates a foodie culture, obsessed with food; ethnic, American, cord en blue, miniscule works of edible art and tip-the-scales portions slapped on a plate, junk food.  A high brow, low-down melting pot of FOOD CULTURE.  I get to indulge my obsessions, like being on a foodie retreat, my cravings, like knots of lactic acid build up in gripping muscle, smoothed, soothed and melting away on a lava flow of fragrant soup.  I’m then restored with a sinfully good garlicky wedge-thick, yukka fry, or warm cakey, corn enchilada.  But food doesn’t just indulge the taste buds, it informs the mind, addresses the addictions, the entanglement of cultural, twisted-spaghetti like ties from our ancestral past that connects and divides us.

My diary has three date nights. ALL based on a food theme. One with dance, one with a childrens charity and one with conceptual art..I am full of the flutterings, wonderings and hopefulness that a blind date brings.  I’m sure my foodie obsession holds a key to something…my writing career, my confusions about life/love.  A beautiful ebony girl, with an obsession for belt making, once said..in an English cafe…’its funny how that ‘one’ thing can give you EVERYTHING’.  My obsessions are to be explored…like my OBSESSION with my American life, my DESIRE to reside here.  There is depth there… in my obsessive curiosity, like the richest dark chocolate, a slow cooked stew or the heady scent of roasting Columbian beans.

This morning, a blog I am following..the Mija Chronicles…a blog about the foodie life of an American in Mexico…wrote of her return to Mexico City, after an extended trip back to the States, and her rampant desire for the foods of her adopted land.  She asked what we crave, what we seek with tunnel vision with hunger and thirst.  I added my two penneth worth..’

“I could identify with your experiences so much. Nice to know I’m not alone. I currently split my time in the US and the UK. Moving around frequently inside the two countries. So I have things I CRAVE from all over California and South East England. When I am in San Francisco it’s fried yucca fries from Pica Pica and the persimmon salad, doused in chipotle dressing from Gracias Madre. When in Sedona it’s the mind-blowing, vegan Rueben sandwich. LA has me breathless with anticipation and lusty desire for the sweet red bean tamales from La Guera tamalera. I also dash to the stores to buy avocados (so creamy and delicious I am transported to Nirvana), tangy, sweet, red lentil Ethiopian Injera bread wraps & dried split pea soup scooped from bulk bins. Now… in the UK, it has to be masala dosa from Indian Summer or Rasa in Brighton and vegan coleslaw from Leons in London.. Oooh, and popadoms, I LOVE the crunch, the saltiness and the visual appeal of a teetering stack of them…I feel like these things ground me..the food takes me home, probably not so much in a geographical sense but a destination inside of me. I guess this is why I always learn how to decode the recipes and recreate the flavours and textures as best I can, to make them transportable…not the same as being there, with all the smells in the air, the vibe of the people and that something, unseen but unmistakably present that whirls around in the air….but close..”

The author Lesley, of Mija Chronicles  http://lesleytellez.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/on-coming-home-to-mexico-again/  wrote with a passion/hunger, akin to my own.  I’d LOVE to hear from you.  What food MOVES you…empassions you..FILLS YOU UP?  Lets have a foodie supper, made up of words.  A buffet to share…if you dare/care to….

Eat

I shared a meal with a friend tonight, the anticipation of raised hopes and the vulnerability of taking someone along to a place I’d discovered..will she like it? will it be as good as I remembered?  will she be happy?  The joy of getting to sample 50% more flavours, as we picked dishes with the ease and care of 1p/1cent candy, without having to consume double the volume, to get to enjoy the food AND the company..when I travel, I often eat alone..we had a feast, a feast with a multitudinous layering of flavours, colours and textures…Oh yum.  For dessert, of the senses and not the scoffing kind, I took dear Veronica to a food art exhibition.  The brain child of 18 Reasons, a community food centre that ‘exists to bring food and community together through fun food education and art’.  We were invited to explore our relation ship to food through, sight, taste, sound, touch and the wearing of large quilted fruit suits.  Fun/bizarre.  It rounded off the day in the most delicious fashion.

Fruity..full bodied

is pizza and facial hair a combination to avoid?

absolutely nothing to do with food..but the perfect night

So, go ahead…leave a reply… 

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About indialeigh

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5 Responses to Food…. at the heart of our culture…a question and not a statement..

  1. Charles Antony says:

    Dear Ms. India Leigh
    Whilst reading your latest blog with the utmost anticipation, (WARNING! Compliment Alert Approaching), I found this to be the most professional and engaging piece of writing that I have yet read from your good self.
    Congratulations and thank you for sharing.
    Respectfully Yours
    M. Burger

    • indialeigh says:

      Dear Mr Dee John

      Thank you for the warning alert. I was able to prepare myself behind my perspex shield and wear my regulation compliment goggles, earplugs and cheek coolers..Phew! Woo hoo! Hey, I’m jumping around the room like a marsupial macropod on a full moon, around the skirt of Uluru…aka..I’m stoked!

      I bow, I curtsy

      India-leigh

  2. Thats made me hungry.

  3. Martin says:

    I am very impressed and if I read between the lines I understand a lot more than I should do. 😉 Your an artist in those words.

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