Today I'm torn. As much as I'd like to wax poetic about the ripening fruits of summer or the terrific sushi I ate for lunch yesterday, I can't get the images from China's earthquake out of my brain. Maybe it's the former Peace Corps volunteer in me, but to continue posting without at least acknowledging what has happened in Asia feels cheap and irresponsible.
I understand that we all need escape from the horror of world events, that we deserve moments of levity, and even indulgence, if we're fortunate enough to have dodged tragedy. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't talk about it.
Here's an aside, but I promise it's relevant. When I lived in Eritrea, dogs were everywhere, and one day my husband and I casually mentioned to a few of our students how much fun it would be to have one. Within hours, a band of kids showed up at our little house with a puppy. "Here," they offered. "It's yours."
We'd never had a dog before, and dog food was nonexistent in our town. So we fed her scraps. Bits of meat, leftover injera, whatever we had, really. Within days an Eritrean colleague approached us and said, not unkindly, "You realize your neighbors are all talking about your dog. How you feed her food, meat." Yes, so? "They're wondering how you can give meat to this dog when there are hungry children living right around the corner. Why aren't you bringing meat to them instead?"
Why weren't we bringing meat to them?
So today I'm thinking about food writing -- about how spectacular it is to cook, and eat, and reflect, and celebrate farmers and chefs and fresh produce and sweet nut bars. But in the back of my mind my colleague is there, asking me, challenging me. "Really? Do you really want to write about food today? When the papers are filled with images of pain, of death, of destruction?"
And today, just today, I'm not sure how to answer.