Monday, April 25, 2016

Cooking Stuff and Other Things

COOKING is like music to me. Rhythm section is the basic/fundamentals, the improvisation comes with the guitars and sax and horns and stuff. It's always hit and miss. Right key, right blend.

FOOD is a mystery, but it's an endearing adventure to know and understand what people eat. I try all kinds of recipes that I read and encounter and then interface my own take (that somehow go in a book that I am writing--island cooking, herbs, sustainabilty, cultural interface). Cooking is intimacy. If we don't know how to feed the people we're with, then we need to explore more that relationship. Something's missing. I like cooking for the people I love and the friends that I hang out with--although I also cooked for typhoon victims in the Philippines and poor urban workers in India. Cooking is always hit and miss, that is why I continue knowing/learning.

ORGANIC food has become much more popular and mainstream in recent years, accounting for 3 to 4 percent of US food sales and climbing. In the UK, for example, 40 percent of baby food consumed is now organic. But I still don't trust it, especially when “organic food” is sold in relatively bigger stores—compared with my community grower whose produce I can see blossom from seed to harvest. Otherwise, who cares about “organic”? Check this out: Hershey's owns organic chocolate maker Dagoba; Pepsi bought Naked Juice; Coke and Odwalla report to the same boss; Nestle and Tribe Mediterranean Foods are the same. 
          More: Kellogg also owns Morningstar Farms, Kashi, Gardenburger and Bear Naked, and ConAgra/Lightlife. General Mills, Cargill, Kraft, Cadbury, M&M Mars and others also own a host of natural brands. The conglomerate Hain Celestial Group is a major player in the sector. Meantime, in Asheville, a Trader Joe's, which specializes on organic and vegetarian foods, competes with Greenlife Grocery on the same block on Merrimon Av. Trader Joe's also owns Aldi's, which sells foodstuff that an average joe and jane could afford but snobbed by “organic-only” patrons. What's scary about giant food companies? They mass-produce their products, and here's a sample of their production line: Farmed in Guangzhou, China; washed and cleaned in Madras, India; packaged in Cebu, Philippines; and repackaged in Matagalpa, Nicaragua; then shipped to Asheville, North Carolina. Can you trust that? I don't—but I don't want to lose sleep over it. I'd like to simplify my food and save my stress to the next NBA playoffs. I will buy food that I can afford, eat anything that looks good, served on a clean plate.

DANCE! Cook. Write poetry. Crack jokes. Do art. Don't explain yourself. Dance. Keep on dancing.

I'D love the challenge of cooking an awesome dinner for a mixed martial arts lady champion who has just been knocked out. And see what happens. Quite a job, I reckon.

IF we can't understand and accept a people's food we can never understand and accept them. It's like making love. Food is intimate like shared nakedness.

WHAT do I do when I am bored (when I am not writing). I roam the streets like a Blues Brother, I meditate by the sea, I pretend that I am Batman Junior Jr, I eat, I fight it with my Incredible Hulk hand. Or I just cook.

I AM a grandfather. I would love to walk my grandson to the open market and tell him stories about grandpa picking ripe guavas in the mountains as a kid. Or read my granddaughter "The Little Prince" and how a fox's ferocity can be tamed by patient friendship. Then cook them plantains on rice wraps and stuffed with jackfruits, chased down by a cold coconut juice right off a tree.

I AM happy that there's a steady stream of wonderful Facebook friends who “like” what I post on dizzying succession almost 15 hours a day, nonstop. Thank you, thank you! I wish I could invite y'all in a dinner party on a prairie and satisfy your wildest, most virulent culinary cravings—with all the awesome food that I could cook! Seriously.

I HAVE a simple philosophy or reflex/deduction in regards eating. I eat to live. Am I eating safe or unsafe food? Well, that is common sense. If I've been eating poison food in the last 50 years of my life, then I must have resurrected 50 times already? I am still breathing...

IF I could, I just want to shut my mouth—stride to the kitchen, put on some Bee Gees or Led Zeppelin or Andres Segovia, and cook. I will cook till I drop and sleep... Uhh, before I'll sleep I'll post what I cooked first, click on a Netflix movie, and sleep in peace and quiet. I don't mind sliding into a dreamland kitchen, still cooking.

I WOULD love to own a house with an outdoor kitchen, wood stove, and stuff. Of course, it's not that easy in an urban setting with neighboring condominiums and apartments. Lots of issues... Nevertheless, I enjoy watching the fire, the raw smell of burning wood, embers fluttering by, burnt clay pots, veggies off the farm still smothered with muddy soil, fish set to be gutted and all, herbs all over the yard—the breeze or rain and birds chiming along as the dog and cat saunter by.

BACK home in the islands, or long time ago in America, we don't have an apt word for organic since most food are "organic." Meaning, straight from the farm, local, non-pesticide, non-stocked (in shelves) hence no chemical agents to give it longer shelf-life, non-packaged/ready to go as is, non-transported from other sources--and sold right in the open market by people who live in the same community. So when people say “organic” and then they head to a “healthy food” franchise grocery, and negate the local/community grower, I tend to rant. But I digress.

MANY days my life's pursuit of happiness is simply focused on hoping my home team, the Charlotte Hornets win a game. Or I don't argue over some silly, redundant item. Happiness is a sweet two hours goof-around with a child, a cool walk with a babedawg by the river's side—or I get to eat a really fresh and delicious seafood dinner.
I WANNA say, "Let me cook for you, my love. Stay in bed today, rest your back, play a Rising Appalachia CD. Relax like a fairy. Let me handle your sweet lips and warm hips in a bit." Those lines even rhyme, isn't it?

WHEN humanity is well fed and sheltered, and the world and society provide art and music for dancing in place of too much talk, scrutiny and judgment by way of our diversity and differences--then, there will be lesser arguments. There will be Harmony, Love and Peace.

COOK like a world music artist. Not just a cover band. Recipes are fundamentals, let's infuse our personal magic.

"BIZARRE Foods," the TV show, is interesting to me because food is the best way to harmoniously interface with other people's culture. A shortage or lack of understanding of cultural truths pave way for animosities and discrimination between countries. Sadly, we in the West, have become more choosy and picky with our food--sometimes judging others' culinary identity as strange and disgusting. Fact is, we waste a lot of food enough to feed more than half of starving the human race.

EATING is better than arguing. Dancing is better than fighting. Kissing is better than Breaded Pork Chops. Got problem with that?

WE lost the glory of simplicity because nothing seems simple anymore. Food is so complex. Is that GFO-free? as in genetically-fucked up? Ah, gimme safe food or I starve myself to death! Language is so complex. Political correctness needs to be a college degree,I guess—your main job is to correct people, politically. It is easier to junk a cellphone since before there's only 1 house phone to 101 houses, one TV to a barrio of 2,000... Food is what mom placed on the table, EAT! These days, younger people don't have an idea how to it was then so they tend to get depressed with seemingly "simple" things. What? There's no Wi-Fi in the woods? 

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