Monday, June 10, 2013
Michael Pollan told a story at the RSA last week about learning to make kimchi in Korea and his teacher explaining to him the difference between tongue taste and hand taste.
Tongue taste, she said, anyone can do. Anywhere and anyone can make food taste good. Salt, fat, flavour balance. That part is easy. But hand taste, hand taste only comes from something made with love and intent. I think it's the difference between the grilled cheese sandwich you make yourself and the one your Grandma made for you. There's a feeling and an emotion that comes through in hand taste cooking. It's the creativity and the energy put into something you make that takes it beyond sustenance and into something special and memorable. It's hand taste that we foodie types seek out, even if we don't always have the vocabulary to say just that.
So hand taste was on my mind at the Enough Food IF dinner last week. We were very lucky to be treated to dinner by one of the River Cafe's Head Chefs, Danny Bohan and had wines chosen for us by their Head Sommelier, Emily O'Hare. The meal was beautiful and delicious. And I kept thinking about the difference between food as sustenance and basic nutrition and food as love and enjoyment and social capital. The people who live on ugali alone… their concept of my food must be as crazy foreign as mine of theirs.
And it made me think about home and safety and comfort. About how Enough Food IF is a great starting point and so important but that what I would want for people is hand taste. It doesn't have to be crazy expensive or intricate, but hand taste needs to have a level of security and confidence. You need to have enough, nutritious food to feed your people, but you also need the space to cook, a home whatever that means and however basic, and the security and time to make something beyond basic subsistence.
I know it's a few steps beyond what the basic goals of the Enough Food IF campaign are, and really, they need to get those bits right first. This is just me being a day dreamer and thinking of happiness and love for everyone.