Gretchen Rubin , the habits, happiness guru suggested creating a one word theme for the year ahead.
I almost never think in one word. LOTS of words, easy. One? not quite my inclination.
I appreciate the focus, but was at a loss.
I pondered while I washed up the dishes in the kitchen sink. Some of my best ponder is at the sink, hands in sudsy water.
Not one word.
White Christmas, complete with Bing’s whistling – did he really do that that or was it added in? – That went through my head. Not one word.
Pondered a little more, tidied up, read a little and went to bed.
Woke up in the dim, dark hours and wrote ONE WORD on my notepad. No lights, no glasses. Wrote it in the dark. One word.
In the morning, I checked out the word.
What did I mean by that?
That the year ahead would be in layers, smell bad and make me cry?????
That I need to cook more?
That I’ve been spending too much time in the kitchen?
That my Stir-The-Onions-Syndrome was going to pay off OR bring me down???????
Onions, suddenly everywhere……
Right. Onion pi.
After wrestling with the one word resolution, it occurred to me that this wrestling match was not over. I was literally in a headlock. Or literately.
My bedtime reading had been Rebecca Rupp’s How Carrots Won the Trojan War – and the chapter that I read the night I woke with my word?
“Chapter Twelve. In Which ONIONS Offend Don Quixote …”
Well, how ‘bout that?
Clearer, but not better.
Reread the chapter…..and there was this:
“The crackly skin (officially known as the tunic) protects the scales from drying out. Because the bulb is a single entity rather than a conglomeration of separate cloves as in garlic, it was referred to by the Romans as unio, meaning united. From unio came the medieval French oignon, the Anglo-Saxon onyon, and the modern onion.” p. 197.
Maybe the word was
That made a whole lot more sense.
Cooking is all about unions – of flavors, of techniques, of foodstuffs, of people, of the past and the present, about time and place and memory and novelty, about fashion and availability, here and there and now and then….
Even if the meal is one orange
Still life Oranges Jens Mohr 1640
That orange includes the tree
Jean-Baptiste Oudry, The Orange Tree, 1740
And those who planted the orange trees, and harvested the fruit, and shipped it to you, and stocked it in the shop and took your money….and even if you have a tree in your garden, the orange still include those who saved the seeds and got them to wherever you are and taught you to eat them.
We’re never in food alone.
The State of the Union has been on my mind, too. Which reminded me that the states are all additions to the union.
Indigenous people, many nations, for several thousand years……
Europeans arrive. Spanish first in the 16th century, and in the 17th century the English at Virginia and Plymouth….and also the French and Dutch …..but another 150 years after that Nation. Although we were called United States of America in the Declaration of Independence, we first needed Independence and the each of those states had to be ratified into the union ….
So the first state – Delaware – didn’t become ratified until December 7 1787. That’s just a short 230 years ago. So, starting in December, I’ll be posting about the foods in each of the fifty states. The Plates of the Union, as it were.
The story of food is about time and place and people. And people over time over place and other people. There’s always an outside influence.And you are what you eat….
But there are other unions on my mind…..
Unions, such as UAW Local 2320. Yep, that’s new for 2017. We voted on November 4th. The challenges, etc and all the other legal paperwork continued through November, but on December 2nd, 2016 the Election count for the union was ratified. There will be lots more news about this as the winter continues.
But for right now, there’s soup to start….or maybe it’s a stew….