Food: The Great Connector

A picnic for the senses, an invitation to taste daily authenticity…

That’s the promise of a lead article on the new National Geographic Foods of the World website.

What a gift! A beautiful pictoral representation of the way basic sustenance has expanded beyond mere food to become the cornerstone for tradition and connection, community and ancestry.

Some of my favorite memories come in pictures:

* My family around a long rectangular table laid with my grandparents’ fine china, my grandfather seated on three pillows in traditional Passover seder fashion;

* My mother and six of her friends in our kitchen, melting chocolate in a double-burner and pouring the luscious velvet into molds the shape of records, favors for my music-themed bat mitzvah;

* A silver Jacobson’s box filled with my grandmother’s double-chocolate brownies, brought by UPS to my Manhattan doorman building, then toted to my office for my American Metal Market co-workers to share all day long;

* Standing at my kitchen counter with my college-age cousin Kyle, rolling hot, wet lasagna noodles around a ricotta-spinach feeling and nestling in a bechamel bath, as we talked, and talked.

So many memories, conversations, relationships are secured over food. When I started this blog, I intended to make it about how we nourish ourselves, intending to use food as a metaphor for all the ways in which we care for ourselves and others.

I’ve done that in part. But this new National Geographic effort is so vibrant and right on the mark.

This afternoon, Shaya and I leaned against a heft of pillows on my bed, tuning out the TV and eating ice cream and M&Ms. I don’t pretend to think we shared a meaningful moment, but we shared something, certainly. He can feed himself, but we had great fun as I spooned melty neapolitan ice cream into his little mouth. He smiled, I smiled. That’s what I mean.

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