Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First We Take Manhattan. Then We Take Berlin!

Omnieater thought that she would be able to get more written this month, but it has been wash.  I apologize profusely. Moving – in a word – stinks. How do your decide what kitchen equipment to take?  Or do you go minimalist and just take knives? (I don’t know why security doesn’t understand a cook’s relationship to knives.)  And what specialty food should you bring?  The weird stuff or nothing?  And can you get Huitalcoche in Berlin?
            Globalization.  Amazing isn’t it?  We can move from one continent to the other without a second thought.  Forty years ago when my parents just immigrated to the United States, it was good-bye forever.  My grandmother would mail large bags of dried anchovies and ggim (Nori) because my mother complained she couldn’t find any decent ones in the states.  Sushi or short-grain rice could only be found in little cramped Asian grocery stores with dubious hygiene standards.  Not anymore.  In the states, the variety of food is astounding. Fish from Victoria Falls, Chinese pickled beans, berbere spice – you can find it as long as you have Internet access and a post box. You can even get crazy durian at Ranch 99 on the West Coast.
            This all, of course comes at a cost.  Foodies love to rave about the diversity of ethnic foods we have across the world due to globalization, but when you think about the carbon footprint.  Conscience calling – it’s Greenpeace.  Localvores pontificate about the importance of local agriculture, but in January, eating a diet of beets, potatoes and kale is probably will kill your appetite – or will to live.
            Can the foodie and the locavore ever meet? They are not mutually exclusive, but here’s the ethical dilemma: 
What does it mean to eat well?

According to Max Weber, the German social theorist, we must accept a modernity in which research and science tells us nothing about our values.  We still must determine them ourselves.  For the foodie and the localvore, there must be a middle ground – the earth depends on it.  Only we have the power to determine how we get there.