Having not eaten for literally 24 hours, my stomach was twisting and turning like a circus monkey. I was spending my fifteenth straight hour in solitude and darkness, part of an outward bound program that I took part in. I held a can of sausages in my frozen hands. I’m not a huge fan of sausages, but when you’re starving, you do what you need to do. Grabbing the first bite of food of the entire day, this brought back one of my first memories of my childhood.
I was around 5, pretty much as far back as I can remember. I had the life that all kids wanted: free of worries, comfortable, exciting and fun. Because my parents were working and were rarely home, I lived an extremely privileged life. The nanny, one of the two in our family, would prepare what I wanted to eat at whatever time I wanted. If it wasn’t cooked well it would be cooked again. My parents didn’t really know what happened at home so I was able to make such orders and get away with it. One day, we were at a party and I did not like any of the food there. I distinctly remember my parents tried to force me to eat canned sausages but I absolutely refused. Trying to teach me a lesson, my dad told me, “someday, when you’re starving and that’s the only thing left you have to eat, you won’t even complain a single word.” I simply smiled and disregarded him.
This really had come back to bite me. My dad was indeed right. Fourteen years later, I no longer take the privileges I have for granted. I eat whatever is given to me, no questions asked.
The soil was quite wet today due to the precipitation affecting Los Angeles last night and this morning, so I didn’t water it as much as I usually do. The photos reflect the soil condition before I watered so you can see it is quite wet already. Otherwise, the plants are growing fine and many are getting closer to being ready for harvesting.
In the story of Momotaro, Momotaro came to Earth inside a giant peach, which was found by a woman. Momotaro met and became friends with three animals who agreed to help him in his quest. On the island, Momotaro beat the demons and they surrendered. Besides his animal friends, during his journey to defeat the ogres, he also acquired strength from the millet dumplings that were prepared for him, which were apparently the “most suitable food for a warrior on a journey”. The idea that the power of the dumplings allowed Momotaro to complete his mission makes it quite a mythical food.
Another food, or drink in this case, that is commonly consumed today also has its mythic origins. Believe it or not, beer is a product most frequently referred to in mythology of Mesopotamia. In this myth, Inana, the Goddess of Love, War, Fertility and Lust, wanted to trick Enki, the God of culture, into giving her certain tablets, called the Mes, which pretty much contained the blueprints of civilization. She knew that if she was able to get a hold of these tablets, that she would have power and knowledge over all aspects of civiliazation. Therefore, to do this, Inana makes Enki drunk with beer in order to steal these heavenly secrets from him. When Enki sobered up, he tried sending sea monsters to retrieve the documents from Inana, but she was able to get away. This myth, which explains both how beer was conceived and the powerful effects of the alcohol in the beer which later affected their society, has been passed on until today.
The plants seem to be quite healthy. It is not as hot anymore so the ground was not too dry when I got there. However, I noticed that insects seem to be eating away at some of our plants (see the bottom picture). It’s not a terribly huge problem but you do see holes here and there within the leaves.
Magic is commonly thought of as the art of producing a desired effect through the use of techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature. In Tanazaki’s “Gourmet Club”, magic takes on a whole different meaning. He describes Count G.’s accidental discovery of a Chinese “gourmet club” quite different than his own; one that explores various delights to satisfy his jaded taste of Japanese food. Magic to him is an extraordinary influence or power in the flavors of the food that seem to captivate and take over his senses.
One experience I had just the opposite of Count G’s. Having been born and raised in Hong Kong, I have pretty much eaten nothing but Chinese food. Even the Japanese food that I rarely eat is non-traditional and changed to suit the taste of Chinese people. However, when I went to Japan last year, I was able to experience the “magic” of true Japanese cuisine. My family and I went into a shop that sold nothing but soba. We thought this was interesting as many Chinese people think that Japanese food is nothing but sushi and sashimi. Initially, I was reluctant to try the restaurant since I was never a fan of soba. However, this traditional Japanese meal totally blew my mind.
Once the tray arrived, I could already smell the aroma of the buckwheat noodles. Just by the look of it, you could tell that the noodles were absolutely fresh. Each bite that I took was amazing; the noodles were cooked perfectly, a bit chewy, yet not so much that I would not be able to swallow it. I could feel the cold sensation of the sauce and noodles slowly going down my throat and into my stomach. It wasn’t really an icy cold feeling, more like a soothing chill. Finishing off by drinking the soup used to cook the soba, I had a warm, fulfilled sensation at the end of the meal, one magical moment that I will never forget.
It was extremely hot today due to the heat wave affecting the region. Although the sun was not shining on the garden patch when I arrived, the soil was quite dry so I gave the plants quite a bit of water.
All the vegetables seem to be healthy.
It can safely be said that the vast majority of people has had a burger at least once in their lives, and that a lot of people like it. Quite frankly, I was a burger fan until around last year when I stumbled upon an article that shocked me. This article discussed the less known facts about beef patties in many gourmet burgers, some even from top tier restaurants. It was no surprise to me that research found these beef patties to contain an exorbitant amount of hormones, but the real alarming fact was some patties contained up to 128 distinct sets of DNA, or more simply, is a mix of who knows what from 128 different cows. I’m not talking about 1 dollar burgers from McDonalds, but rather a few (anonymous) high class restaurants that “foodies” would fancy.
So what would Fukuoka say about this “foodie” meal?
First of all, he would not be too happy about the idea of the burger itself. Ground beef isn’t natural, and neither are the (most of the time) commercially grown buns that go over it. In terms of the beef, it’s parallel with his description of chicken eggs. “And commercial chicken eggs are nothing more than a mixture of synthetic feed, chemicals, and hormones” (Fukuoka, 94). Many cows are constantly injected with hormones to help them grow faster, which is obviously not how nature intended for them to be grown, let alone the fact that 128 different cows are put together to create one patty. As far as the buns are concerned, pesticides are used in the production of wheat buns. Again, something that Fukuoka points out as going against the forces of nature.
As Fukuoka says, “At the heart of natural farming is an understanding of the unity of existence; the ability to see the natural patterns in everything.” But nowadays, the only patterns we see, even in “foodie” foods, are cheap production and a high selling price.
Nowadays, unless it has the word “organic” written all over it, I always think twice before ordering a burger.