Balance v's Conflict - Jen's Kitchen

Balance v’s Conflict

This is another of the short pieces I wrote for my Masters in Food Writing.  At some stage I would like to re visit the topic.

Balance v’s Conflict

I have a horse, Missy, who is without doubt, the love of my life.  There is no need to worry about my children’s or husband’s feelings on this, they are well aware.  I like to ride hard and fast, over fences and through fields.  Because of this attraction to speed, and that fact that I believe I am “good” in the saddle, some years ago I asked my husband to bring me skiing.  We were heading to upstate New York in February and as a Valentines Gift he got me a half days lesson with the kids.  He had been skiing many times as his parents took school skiing trips to which he tagged along.

The ski school was beautiful, and the young instructor seemed competent.  And I’m sure he was, competent that is, he definitely WAS young.  But here’s the nub.  I discovered my balance is appalling.  Truly.  Mind blowingly. Appalling.  My lack of balance on these two insignificant sticks far outweighed my need to rattle down the snowy mountain like the coyote after the roadrunner. At 34 I had reached a road to Damascus moment.  I have no sense of balance.

And yet I still to this day strive to achieve balance in my life, and never more so than in my own, and my family’s diet.  But as beings is it not more important to complete the actual process of eating? Be it alone of in company? In silence or not?

“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.”―M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating.

MFK Fisher goes into great detail about this, in the most eloquent of voices, and is a beacon shining on the side of holistic eating.

As a culture is it more beneficial to the whole microbiom that we are eating then stressed about the cooking and ingredients?  That the whole composite experience of the preparation and eating, and the analysis of well being not just be measured on the nutritional value alone?

Or is life too short, that we should just eat for pleasure and not spend our time consumed by “what” we are eating.  However the word “pleasure” should not be overly emphasised, as it would be foolish to view every meal as fuel.  There have been numerous articles written on this subject, some for eating purely for fuel, some just about the sensory enjoyment.

For me it is a constant flux of choices from which I strive to conjure balance;

Variety in the diet- but- cost, seasonality

Ethical Eating- but- cost, availability

Cost of ingredients v’s Quality that I can afford

Work/ Life Balance

Nutritional Value v’s Taste

Creativity in the dishes v’s time

At this stage I’ve come to the conclusion that possibly we just have to do our best.  Let each day come as it is.  But eat each meal like it may be our last, as surely this distinguishes us from animals, that we can savour each mouthful using all our senses.  Mind you, my mare can smell an apple from a mile away, don’t tell me she doesn’t appreciate her food!



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