Jun 16, 2017

Forkways #3: Farm to Fork 2016 - The Chef Shops

This is me and my friend Sara:

She is a farmer: 

We live in Cedar City, Utah and Sara has taught me there is a very short growing season here. But Sara loves her farm. She started her Community Supported Agriculture farm when she was 13!

For the past four years, I have had the opportunity to attend a farm to fork dinner at a local CSA. For myself and Mr. X these experiences have been transformative, especially in progressing into new chapters of food exploration. Last summer I was able to document some of the experience beyond the plate and gain insight into the mind of the chef and farmer, Sara Patterson.

Sara is passionate about local ingredients and quality products. She started farming at a young age and carries her passion like a banner. She eagerly connects with local farmers and growers to find the best and most interesting ingredients.

Watching Sara shop for the farm dinner is like watching an ehtnobotanist in action, and she doesn't even know it. She shops at the farmer’s market on both Saturday and Wednesday. Red Acre Farm sells the harvest surplus beyond what goes in their shareholder’s weekly baskets. Sara makes bread and lemonade to sell weekly. She often sells cheeses as well.

On Saturday Sara looks at fresh figs but waits to get them. She wants them to look beautiful and is worried that they will not hold up the extra days.

Sara gets all the beets. She uses these in a beet salad at the farm dinner.

From Marigold Gardens Sara gets green bell peppers and eggplant. Pam is a great local grower and very supportive of community events.

She considers kohlrabi but changes her mind.

She decides on radishes instead.

On the Wednesday market the timing is better and she picks up a lot of produce from local farmers.

Time for figs! She asks about mushrooms but conditions have been too dry.


Corn from Janet. Some of this ends up in vegan tamales.

Sara tells me none of her tomatoes are red.
"They are too boring.”
She stocks up on red tomatoes for the dinner. She gets six pounds.

Sara gets tomatillos.


Jun 13, 2017

Forkways #2: Eating Alone

“Jack Goody has likened eating alone to defecating in public (1982:306) because of the absence of the social in meeting essentially biological needs.”

For those of us that have ever been single, these words add a whole new level of shame to the practice is eating a microwave dinner standing at the kitchen counter. There is solace in those moments, at times. But equal amount of shame. Maybe the first three times it is liberating, and the next three hundred is confirmation of body shame because we as humans allow ourselves to feel hunger. In American culture, consumption of food continues to be a sinful act.

Food for humans ends up having so many functions. It is fuel, it is a way to socialized, it is a way to create an identity, and it is a tool to identify others. Eating carries with it a large amount of social and cultural significance which can be easy to overlook. Goody’s suggestion that eating alone is similar to defecating in public is connecting with the overlooked aspects of food consumption. For Goody, the consumption of food for fuel is lacking some of the essential components of eating.

For most Americans there can be a challenge transforming the sinful act of eating into a social experience. There are so many opportunities during consumption to make connections and experience something new. Even though Goody's comment is overstated, what can we learn from it?

There is a social quality to food that we become disconnect from if we eat alone. In the book Word of Mouth: What We Talk About When We Talk About Food the author states, “We talk about food to both craft identities and construct social worlds." This is the case not just for talking about food, but talking around food. Food acts as a facilitator for social exchange. Eating can become the common ground, or neutral territory for two parties to meet. Though, as Cooper expressed, that is also not always the case.

The cultural structure of manner can feel invisible, but as Eugene Copper exemplified in “Chinese Table Manners,” these can vary drastically from one culture to another. Shared meals allow for us to learn the structures and rituals of our food consumption and can also be an interesting and important window into the culture of others.
Bibliophile Exploring Dystopia | Food & Community | Utopian Projects