There are many moments in the kitchen where my mind wanders, it's true. Sorting beans, stripping bunches chard from its tough stalk, even chopping onions (with knives hopefully well sharpened) all have a repetitive, lulling effect and I sometimes find myself far away. But the pasta water boiling over, or the smell of charring garlic are reminders that attention is a primary ingredient.I am fortunate to live in the Bay Area and to belong to a watershed that offers so much year round abundance that being a locavore is hardly a challenge. In fact, it is often an embarrassment of riches and I find myself wanting to tone it down some when talking with my snowbound, produce-challenged friends to the east. At least in the winter. But belonging means more than getting all the good stuff. It means having a responsibility to sustainability, to stewardship, to awareness and appreciation.
Belonging is a deep human need and often food is one of it's most fundamental expressions. It's spring (well, at least in the northern hemisphere) and it's Easter/Passover time as well. Besides filling the belly, why do you cook and what's being expressed? What do you belong to?
(All images: Dana Velden)