“There is enough on this planet for everyone's need, but not for everyone's greed”
- Mahatma Gandhi
From Quan: Like knowledge, food is power. It is medicine. The sharing of meals, hell, even the shopping for food can be considered a loving act. There is one grocery store where I buy my green combination. Fortunately, it is close to my home! Since COVID-19 the produce manager and I have had conversations about how and when they get their orders. That is how serious I am about getting these greens from this store. The folx who shop at this store are jovial and playful about purchasing greens. One benefit of the holidays is that it tends to be crowded in the produce section and there's a camaraderie, a sharing of how (& what) you're going to cook. Greens as love. Greens are love.
For my vegetarian friends, I've been known to make two pots of greens - one without seasoning meat. I watched my stepmothers make greens. The memories and basic creativity make greens one of my favorite dishes to cook and share.
JBL Flip 4, check. Jalapenos, check. Vidalia onions, check. Soaking the greens to clean them, check. It is a joyous process that I do at least once a month.
From the personal to the planetary, the UN World Food Programme won the Nobel Peace Prize this week! Feeding the world's children and its citizens this year with this pandemic has been more than challenging. The number of those who have food insecurity due to war & coronavirus could more than double to 265 million. According to the NY Times, this humanitarian organization last year promoted food security to nearly 100 million people in 88 countries.
Those who have less, the marginalized, the oppressed, or who are differently abled give everyone opportunities to exercise their compassion muscles. Those who have never experienced food insecurity can offer their support to those who have. I'll make greens.
From Tavish: As I stare into the well-stocked refrigerator I share with my husband, Fred, I am grateful for its contents. We shop with a list for the necessary staples, but produce and protein decisions are generally made on the fly at the store, based on what looks good and what is on sale. With rare exceptions, our meals aren’t planned. They come together after a quick review of the raw material (like that?!), balanced with the time/hunger scale. At that point, imagination goes to work.
We grow assorted tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and herbs to complement flavors and add depth to the sauces and broths that we create. Salsas and ceviches are also frequently on hand because developing bases for building meals is something we both truly enjoy. We don’t often cook together, but we bring each other’s components into the final product. There is so much love and consideration infused into the meals we eat, that at this point in my life, I always feel well-nourished.
I am also keenly aware that it has taken some effort for me to create an intentional practice around food, and that my ability to do that is based entirely on my privilege. As I tend to my garden every day, I spend time in what I call “The Root System”, where I feel a soul-based connection to all of humanity. I spend time in consideration of the 8-9% of our global population who regularly feel the pain of hunger, as well as the people who go without enough nutrition to entertain having a balanced and thoughtful life. I imagine life-changing food resources becoming available to those individuals and communities. I imagine the ripple effect of eradicating hunger and the impact it would have on our world if those of us with a well-stocked refrigerator made it our intention to help nourish others in some way.
I recognize that people who are struggling to meet basic needs do not often have the time and space available for reflection on behavior, theirs or anyone else’s. When fundamental materials are missing in our makeup, our choices aren’t based on true reasoning, which has become distorted in some way. Those choices are made in a state of fight or flight….trying to get through this moment before the next moment comes. The feelings of fear stand in front of considered reason, producing nothing but shame and misunderstanding. We rarely spend time looking at what stands in front of another person’s reasoning, but if we did, other human beings would make a lot more sense to us. Gandhi’s words about there being enough for everyone resonates like a drum in my body so I try to energetically nourish the entire root system. I’m going to start using the pot liquor from Quan’s ancestors’ greens as the energetic elixir infused in the process. You are all invited to join in. There is definitely enough space in our root system for each of us to be well-nourished.
Tavish and Quan