Food is powerful. It tells stories. It travels. It can coax a smile in dire moments…
Crisp summer greens and the sour crunch of pickles. Teeth sinking through the chutney tucked between the lumps and bumps of pakora, reaching the rich, warm center of the dough. The sweet tang of cranberry sauce simmering on the stove. Food ushers us from season to season, with our taste buds tuned to find comfort in familiar dishes.
Food is powerful. It tells stories. It travels. It can coax a smile in dire moments (as I was recently reminded after absentmindedly checking a news alert during dinner).
Unlike the news, food is a bringer-together. Good food exists in the tiny center of the ven diagram of things that can make most people happy, alongside viral puppy videos and Instagram-able sunsets.
And we’re all entitled to our own definitions of “good food.” Isn’t that the beauty of it? America’s palate is as varied as its people.
In an era of hard news diets, when we can measure the day in headlines at least as easily as by the meals we’ve eaten, we need food for more than its nourishment. We need its roots. We need comfort food in the company of chosen family, and we need its counterpart the strange flavors that engulf us when we are invited to sit at someone else’s table.
As another seasonal milestone and harbringer of change approaches the midterm elections the hunger for an easy answer may threaten to overwhelm at the ballot box, or even before you reach the polls. Or, given the current state of politics, you may have lost your appetite. But voting is a democratic ritual as important as sitting down with friends, family and neighbors to share a meal. It roots us, together, in the messes of the present moment, while offering tastes of a better tomorrow.