The thing about the internet is… hold your breath here, folks, I’m about to share something truly startling… there’s a lot of stuff out there. I occupy only the tiniest crevice of an edge of a corner of the food bloggery part of it. Over the past few weeks, with everything that’s been happening in this world of ours, my willingness to read large portions of the information out there has decreased considerably, and I’ve been limiting my exposure. As you might guess, my primary focus is on food – it feels safer, less consequential, friendlier. No one is losing their rights or being laid off or fearing for their families and lives or suffering environmental disasters.
And yet two close friendly sources I read recently made me wonder whether this under-a-rock modus operandi is irresponsible, or perhaps even disrespectful, of me. An old acquaintance from college, in considering how he might share his thoughts by starting a blog, was contemplating what topics he might explore. Of a food blog, he claimed the profusion already existing would make his creation of a new one simply self indulgent. I started wondering, is what I do here self indulgent? Is it wrong to think about food instead of news, or watch a cooking show instead of CNN, or to share recipes instead of sharing sorrows? Then I read a Facebook post from a fellow blogger, who stated a momentary reluctance to post a recipe in light of all the heartbreak and hurt across the Pacific. Her ultimate decision was that food is a celebration of life, so posting a recipe is a sharing and honoring of that celebration and appreciation.
After some deep consideration of these ideas, I decided I agree with the latter opinion. What I’m doing here may be just for me, but it’s intended to share my enjoyment and what I’ve learned, and in doing this small communities form. I suspect I know most of the people who read this blog, but there are always going to be some drop-ins and anonymous readers. Despite that facelessness, I’m sharing myself and my appreciation of a certain part of life. That part just happens to be the tasty stuff we put in our mouths. And really, isn’t that an important part? Food sustains us. It’s true that some of the foods created and posted on food blogs are fancy or expensive or require extra equipment or exotic ingredients, but that’s not always true. Sometimes they are posts about simple food, simple enjoyment, and simply things that taste good. Sometimes they share cultural lessons or preserve heritage or, with the profusion of people needing and focusing on special dietary requirements – gluten-free, nut free, dairy free, vegan – sometimes they really help people be able to eat in a safer, more enjoyable way.
So in posting today, I’m not ignoring world events or trivializing them or indulging myself. I don’t think posting about food while people are struggling is disrespectful or irresponsible. Rather, I’m expressing how strongly I value life by treating the stuff that keeps us alive. In a time like now, with tsunamis and fires and trembling ground, with death and struggling and union-busting (and that’s just the big news from the past week or two – struggle and suffering in this world seems like a sad universal), to really value these wonderful, fragile lives we have, rejoicing in the occasional indulgence seems like a positive method. Maybe it’s a little fluffy, and without question there are more important things out there to learn about and understand, but I think we have to appreciate what we have, and for me that means sharing what I make in my kitchen and what I’m learning in the process.
I’d love to hear your thoughts: is food worthy of the attention it gets? Are we indulging ourselves by thinking and writing and loving so much the substances that sustain us, or is this a valid form of life valuation?