Food (what about it?)

Hi Pony Sparkle…

I want to tell you about this delicious pizza I made. I’ve been into making pizza lately – at first I was intimidated about making my own dough, but once I tried and learned that it’s not so hard after all, now I’m hooked. I just experimented with the crust; like mom, I substituted some of the white flour for whole wheat flour. But I also added some corn flour! It actually turned out fine – a little lighter and fluffier than my last dough, and so delicious! One great thing about making your own dough is that one batch makes enough dough for about three pizzas. Depending on the size, you can have pizza all week long… or tuck it away in the freezer for a rainy day. I did both – two pizzas for this week and a third stocked up.

I was inspired a bit by this pizza and a few other recipes that highlight the marriage of zucchini and corn. My pizza was a feta cheese base topped with corn and artichoke hearts that were marinated with olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard, tossed briefly with strips of zucchini, and then topped with parmesan.

Max calls me a “good fairy” after I make really delicious things. I like being a fairy, waving my imaginary wand and creating miracles. That’s what it feels like sometimes when I am swept up in experimenting, a wave here and a stir there, and voila! Being a fairy reminds me of a few different things, things mostly connected with Elka – fairy houses and Sleeping Beauty. Remember we used to pretend to be the fairies with Emi? The red, blue, and green ones, like we used to be Louie, Huey and Dewey from Duck Tales. What magical adventures. Now my enterprises have taken on totally new forms – mostly in traveling or culinary endeavors as I push myself to try new things and add sustenance to my box of experience. My imagination still isn’t held back from creating fantasy worlds and living outside the parameters of my physical existence.

A bite of an exotic pizza while retracing the routes of all the ingredients from their places of origin to far away St Petersburg both warms and hurts my soul synchronously. In my fantasy world the doors open for the creation of equally interesting meals, but on a much more sustainable scale – a connection between my kitchen, my hands, and the land around me. How spoiled are we that we can run out across the street and simultaneously purchase 500 grams of limes from Australia and 150 grams of feta from Greece and one kilogram of tomatoes from Italy. It’s not that these things can’t be produced locally (okay – limes without greenhouses, no) but more so that the globalization of our food industry has determined these routes. The supermarket provides us with the “choices” – Limes from Florida or Australia? – both thousands of kilometers away.

I’m pretty consumed with thinking about food – about its preparation and its production. I dream of a time when I can put food on my table that I produced myself, or at least know from where it came – other from what the sticker tells me. I know that means that I’ll have to give up some foods that I cherish, or at least cut back on many things that I enjoy regularly, but at the same time, there are so many new doors that open! So much new territory to explore, and many adventure to be had. But in a way, I think this type of living brings us down to the Earth, connecting us both physically and figuratively to our roots. What is cultural identity without food? And food today is out of context and misunderstood. Weekly dinner can range from Asian to Italian to Georgian, especially in places like America, where it’s all a “salad bowl” (or melting pot – as evidenced be such creations as “Asian fusion”). It’snot always a bad thing, but I think that it should be handled in a different way. Is the sushi that people pop thoughtlessly into their mouths true to its Japanese roots? No, as Japanese visitors have witnessed. And it’s not necessarily wrong – adaptation and evolution are natural and it’s the way the world works – but I do think that it is in many ways culturally insensitive to transform something that’s not yours and pretend that it’s authentic.

But eating the ‘wrong’ food for your genetic makeup can be detrimental: you yourself mentioned the high rate of diabetes in Senegal due to overeating of rice, and that’s just one example. And I don’t even want to get into food production and crops in certain places (ahem, California) and how food trends ravish the land.

Anyway, considering that we spend so much time of our lives eating and that it has such a significant impact on our bodies (which house us), I think that I’d prefer to be thoughtful about what I’m eating and what the implications, both to me physically, and to the world at-large, may be.

So, in short: Bon appetit!

-Beckala