If you ever wonder if food makes people happy, all you need to do is walk through a campground on a Saturday morning and let the smell of sizzling bacon and hot coffee fill your senses. Okay, maybe not if you are a veggie person, but I'm sure you understand. Food is behind only air and water in our day-to-day survival needs and we as a species have made the most of it (with the help of fire, of course).
I put out an inquiry to my "four F's" (friends, family, fans and followers) as to how food makes them happy or optimistic and I've included a few of their responses below, with their permission.
My own answers are varied. As a carnivore, I am optimistic for the brilliant future of meat production. Not only are more humane and natural processes being put in place, but I am very much looking forward to mass-produced lab-grown meat. When they perfect the texture, taste and consistency, which isn’t too far off, it could drastically scale back raising and killing livestock.
Second, have you ever stopped by a restaurant and ordered a dish that ended up being very similar to something your mother used to make? I have had the occasion to experience this and have enjoyed the memories immensely. It seems that sound, smell and taste can take you right back to a point in your past, no matter how remote, and food encompasses two of those.
Last, I'll say that there is little in life that is more satisfying as enjoying one of the best steaks, fried chicken, corned beef and cabbage, grande burritos, or whatever you fancy as your favorite meal, that you've ever had. I'll grant you that it doesn't happen often enough, but when it does, bliss.
From the comments I've received (and I've edited or paraphrased some):
P. Bourell- We should be happy that we have an abundance of food.
S. Michael- I lived in Spain for several years in the late-60s/early-70s (military husband) and "discovered" cafe con leche. I had never been a coffee enthusiast but I got truly addicted to this. When we returned to the U.S., cappuccino had definitely not yet arrived so I experimented and discovered a way to make "chocolate coffee" in the microwave that tasted very much like the Spanish cafe con leche I loved. I still make it every morning and the first sip is often the best moment of my entire day.
K. Burkhart- Love, love, love Spanish coffee. We also discovered it on our first trip to Spain. Food and travel go together for us -- we can always remember different things we try while traveling. We are adventurous eaters.
C. Veney- My husband loves food-- any kind and anywhere!
T. Thomas- Food lures my teenagers out of their "caves" (aka bedrooms) and fills them up so they can... do... whatever they are doing in their caves. I am grateful that they appreciate my cooking and enjoy "real" food -- food as Nature intended it to be (not processed or made in a factory). I like that food brings us together.
N. Huber- I started using Cholula sauce a few years ago.... that's the"adventure" limit for me... but it makes many meals very enjoyable! Also, let's not forget that joy I feel when the crispy tacos at a restaurant means the corn tortilla was freshly fried, not pulled out of a box!
A. Ashley- I've convinced my husband that he has to come up with our dinner entree idea every other night. I'll still cook, but it makes my life so much easier. Some of his ideas are pretty interesting! They say one of the hardest parts of adulting is figuring out what to have for dinner every night. Now we have fun with it.
D. Ramsey- I went to college in London and in the winter you could buy chestnuts roasted over an open fire! Still one of my best food experiences.
V. Cryer- When I lived in Okinawa for four years and sometimes we would not get meat shipped in from the US (this was many many year’s ago). We would have to depend on old faithful SPAM. We learned a great many ways to cook spam, including chicken-fried and barbecued. I have learned what ever food you have in the pantry- just be creative!
K. McCridhe- I've been interested in hydroponics for a couple decades now and have been seeing almost a boom of information and hacks this past year. I've even seen a few that just might work for mobile folks. I've also seen a couple 12-volt refrigerators that just might be in my budget. Being a fan of fresh food, this makes me happy!
BLSMSS- When we travel and find a place that serves food we see how different people make the same dish and wonder what their story was on why they make it that way. When friends ask about my food, I love telling them how I came to make it that way. I love stories like that or even hearing people talk about the same food made in different places around the country.
I'll close with a quote from Robert Frost: "Laughter is brightest where food is best."
Thanks, everyone, for your contributions! Another topic will be posted shortly.
Jack Huber is a writer, blogger, poet and photographer. Like many, he is concerned about the psyche of our planet's inhabitants and wants to try to improve his little corner of it.