This Wednesday I saw an old, fragile man pulling a well-organized cart full of personal items – useless things that people like you or I may not hold onto, but had the same cared-for tenderness to them as treasured books, safety blankets, or collected cups. I felt my eyes curiously lingering on a tidy pile of magazines and newspapers wrapped neatly with old twine. As I watched this man my heart began to wither, because I could tell by now he was homeless and well-groomed despite his life on the streets. Still holding onto his cart of valuables, this gentleman slowly, hopefully walked over to the trash bin and examined the discarded pizza box sitting on it, gently lifting its lid to see if there was something left, perhaps a morsel of food to stave the hunger that he carries with the bravest ounce of dignity that could be expected for a struggling person sleeping on sidewalks in a city full of decadence.
I’m not one to dote on memories of the homeless that I see on the streets of my neighborhood, there are so many and I avoid them due to the guilt of my own privileged existence. To say that this particular experience left me sad is an understatement, but I couldn’t bear watching the tidy homeless man any longer so I walked away as fast as my short legs could carry me: I needed to forget what I just witnessed in order to buy my fruits and vegetables, the same ones used to make luxurious food on this blog.
I still regret walking away without much ado. That same evening I finished reading MFK Fischer’s The Gastronomical Me, which ended on a quaint but sad story about unrequited love…. Fischer, in her wise words ended the book with this:
Jaunito would be free again, as much as anyone can be who was once known hunger and gone unfed…
When I read this my youthful silliness made me tearful at my own callousness to the hungers shrouding this city; I spend each day mourning my own “terrible” existence, drunk from seeking culinary opiates to my own superficial hungers, avian fantasies, and meaningful big ideas. I turned on some music because it softens up my emotions like a familiar tenderizer, and I began to humble myself with ideas of nourishment, the kind that my heart seeks when hungry, not just pretty baked things with sugar and fruit, but a filler that doesn’t starve my inner soul of empathy. As much as I think I am contributing to the joys of those around me the truth is, most of us are hopelessly helpless when it comes to the pains and sufferings that others have to endure on a daily basis. I’ve known hunger but with each revelation, I find that my pains are just flesh wounds – temporary inconveniences.
I hope that you find some minor joys when you read my blog, look at the photos, and perhaps even make some of the food. As for me, I dream of having an open and free kitchen in this godforsaken city to feed those in hunger.
On a lighter note, here are some of my favorite delicious links on the web this week:
+ I used to read 101Cookbooks religiously. I made nearly every recipe, and followed every passionate adventure from Heidi’s kitchen until my own cookbook collection eclipsed my devotion. Just the other day, I was thrilled to see this beautiful dish. I might have to give her rosy yogurt thing a chance, despite my aversion to yogurt things.
+ Consider me shocked when I saw this: Cornbread Waffles. I don’t think I need more reasons to get a waffle iron.
+ I usually don’t make cakes, but I could get used to the idea of this beautiful one: apple and walnut cake from Desserts for Breakfast.
+ These financiers are filled with rolos. Enough said.
+ If you haven’t already, stop by Backyard Kitchen in the Marina for a free sandwich this week.
+ This weekend is the Armenian Festival and Bazaar at St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church. They are advertising baklavas, kebabs, and all sorts of middle eastern goodies.
+ I’m collecting pumpkins and fall squashes like this.
+ I want this kitchen with these concrete counters/shelves and a large window overlooking a forest…
+ I can’t wait to get the new Blue Bottle book, it’s supposed full of recipes for their treats as well… YUM!
+ I made a new playlist for the week, it’s called ‘keep you‘ and it’s full of lovely tunes that I can’t get enough of.