“If more of us valued food, cheer and song above gold and power, it would indeed be a merrier world.” - J.R.R. Tolkien
Just in! My agent has concluded negotiations with the Cha Cha Cooking Club for my Food Filosopher contract. Excitedly, mouth-wateringly, I am honored to be the first Cha Cha Food Filosopher! My 40 years of formal philosophical education, as a student, a professor, the Chair of a Philosophy Dept., will be my springboard for Food Filosophy. I’ve worked with international Chef Randy Bublitz on epistemological, metaphysical and normative issues regarding food. Additionally, I’ve served for the past few years as the ambassador for Flying Goat wines learning much about Gustatory Aesthetics.
“Know Thyself!” Socrates directed over 2,000 years ago. Know Thyself is an axiom of Food Filosophy. Noobies to the reflective philosophical life assume that Socrates’ directive is as easy as peanut butter and jelly. However, better to ponder a daunting consommé, a clear soup made from meat, tomato, egg whites and stock, slowly simmered to bring impurities to the surface for skimming. Food Filosophy is that slow simmer/reflection to bring impurities to the surface for skimming or looping off.
Philosophy, proper, is to native, cultural belief systems what nutrition studies are to native, cultural diets. We are born into our native, cultural diets as we are born into our native, cultural beliefs. As critical issues, typically implicit, regarding value and existence concern our native, cultural diet, so analogous critical, implicit issues underlie our native, cultural beliefs. As we have needed to abandon, with varying degrees of success, false ancestral beliefs acquired through culture such as the world was flat, at the center of the universe, that the sun revolved around the earth and that many women were witches, so our native cultural diets may be unhealthy, inadequate, insipid, even dangerous.
Today, as your Food Filosopher, I am only introducing some of the questions to be explored in our Cha Cha Cooking Club Food Filosopher blogs. Our initial questions: Who, What, How, When, Where, Why will be pursued. Here’s a first glimpse!
“Who?” as in “Who are you?” Existentially, on which side of the counter do you most comfortably exist? Are you typically a chef or a habitué (a frequent visitor)? I am a habitué by nature, if not nurture. My wife, a local “iron chef”, revels effortlessly as chef. Being new to Food Filosophy, I believe the Cha Cha Cooking Club will nurture my chef aspirations, at home at least, giving me the courage, knowledge and sass to move beyond my passive habitué position. In our future, Who are you chef, habitué or both? Which life is richer? Know Thyself!
What do you eat? FLOSSY is the Cha Cha Cooking Club answer. F for fresh, L for local, O for organic, S for sustainable, S for simple and Y for yummy. In much of the world, fresh food is possible daily while local remains a significant challenge in America. Organic and sustainable are both rather new to our culinary conceptualizing but quickly becoming essential to health.
Simple and yummy are hallmarks of the Cha Cha Cooking Club. You will be amazed!! In the future, we will explore living in the Fresh – Local scene to start.
How do you eat? My children call me weird for having a lit candle on our table for evening meals. Even if I’m eating alone, I light a candle then pause with gratitude before a toast of wine. A candle lit dinner creates, for me, a sense of sacredness with its quiet, slow sense of reverence and gratitude. The Cha Cha Cooking Club is not only What you eat but the aesthetics of how you eat. In the future, are you provincially tied to using only a spoon, knife and fork?
When do you eat? If you answer, “When I’m hungry,” you are a very fortunate individual. Many others will answer, “When I have food. For those living on the shortage side of food, as in my own extended community of Santa Barbara County, California, known for its wealth, approximately 46% of school age children receive supplementary breakfast and lunch. Then on the abundance side, embedded in a web of variables, we, in Santa Barbara County, also have an obesity problem with nearly 25% of our population. In our future, the politics of food, distribution, scarcity, subsidies.
Where do you eat? While walking, driving, in front of tv, at your desk texting, emailing? There are very good reasons why none of these places, activities should be where you eat. These are profane places and corrupt with respect to the sacredness of FOOD. In our future, family and friends for creating a sacred gustatory aesthetic.
Why? Why eat? That’s simple! Satisfy hunger! But that’s not the Why asked here. Why all of this fuss and fascination over food from the Cha Cha Cooking Club? Because food not only nurtures the body but it profoundly nurtures the mind/soul/spirit, whatever your du jour filosophical conceptualizing. Food can nurture your mind/soul/spirit in that an essential primary good for your mind/soul/spirit is your sense of self-respect, even dignity. Scarfing down a boiled weenie with stale chips and a high fructose corn syrup soft drink is qualitatively unlike dining on a lasagna prepared from your mother’s secret family recipe and complimented by a Temperance Winery 2013 Sangiovese. In our future, Pepsi vs Pinot? Is there a qualitative difference?
Send your questions and suggestions. Let’s explore the fantastic, filosophical world of food!
Cha Cha Bon Appetite!