"Being a really good cook has to do with having a point of view." - Alice Waters
My brother's girlfriend ran across this quote last week and sent it to me, saying it made her think of me. I was glad she did because, as simple as they are, Waters' words are thought-provoking.
When I started Mango & Ginger last fall, I wasn't exactly sure what I'd write about. Cooking, yes. Eating, obviously. And maybe some books and travel. I'd read a lot of food blogs, most of which followed roughly the same model: a few photos, a little chat about something recently cooked or a restaurant, and maybe a recipe to top things off.
Blogging lends itself to that format and many food bloggers do it very well. Initially, I planned to imitate those bloggers. But then something changed. And it had to do with point of view.
One of the coolest things about blogging is that it acts as sort of a receptacle for ideas that would otherwise get lost or, at best, end up scribbled and forgotten in a notebook somewhere. When something I see or read or do prompts me to think about food in a new way, I blog about it. As a result, I have a collection of my food-related thoughts over the past six months.
Which brings me back to the quote. When I think of Alice Waters, I think of local ingredients and the organic revolution - a cohesive food philosophy. Actually, these days, the Chez Panisse way of doing business is so mainstream that it's hard to remember when Waters' beliefs were different enough to truly think of them as a "point of view" rather than a given philosophical cost of entry to the food world. I mean, really, what self-respecting foodie doesn't buy into the value of supporting local farmers and the freshest, best ingredients available?
But still, revolutionary for her time, Waters has a clear and established point of view.
And I think I'm getting there, too, but for myself. Thanks, in large part, to this blog. I'd still be hard pressed to encapsulate my philosophy about food into one pithy sentence, but I know the ideas are sort of hovering out there, starting to gel. There's something about design, something about ritual, something about culture. And, of course, something about taste and memory.
Can I articulate my point of view? Not today. But do I have one? Absolutely. And as soon as I know how to talk about it, you can be sure I'll be posting.