New friend that kept me company during my garden visit
- Left half of the garden bed
- watering the plants…
Visited the garden this afternoon– and it looked great! I was expecting the bed to be extremely dry but this was fortunately not the case despite this weeks EXTREME heat. The bed, however, was not completely moist so I watered it more to ensure that our plants would be nourished for the rest of the hot afternoon. There were some weeds around which I removed to ensure that all the greens had enough room, but it seems we did a good job spacing them when we transplanted last couple of times in the garden. The mustard greens looked AMAZING– thanks to our group. There seemed to be no bug infestations and all the plants looked perfectly healthy– so far, so good! Tomorrow is going to be even hotter so I hope the plants are watered… The gate was locked again– is it ever actually unlocked during the day?
Fukuoka, a scientist by education, came to the realization that the application of science to nature, and more specifically agriculture was not correct. Through his enlightenment he developed the idea of “do-nothing” farming. He reasoned that if plants and vegetables had grown naturally without any intervention for centuries, what was the need now to add fertilizer and till the soil to help the plants to grow? Fukuoka would not approve of the modern day foodie.
Today a foodie is someone who has a keen taste for food and loves to critique and try different combinations and flavors of food. Fukuoka would deem this behavior as unnatural and would not endorse it. Foodies were important in the Meiji era because they were the ones who really pushed for the meat, and specifically beef eating craze in Japan. Up until this time Japan had essentially been practicing isolationism and rejected Western ideas. The fashion of eating meet was purely a Western concept and thus Fukuoka would deem incorporating meat into the Japanese diet as being unnatural. It can also be argued that the foodies of the Meiji period are a large reason why Japan opened its doors to the Western world.
Although Fukuoka was correct in his analysis that nature is able to take care of its plants on its own, human intervention, and more importantly human invention in the kitchen pushed the limits of Japan in the Meiji era and opened their country up to the world. Today, the foodie culture is pushing our cuisine to new limits and is an integral part of our evolution as a human race.
Fusion cuisine is an increasingly popular type of cookery and often sparks an interest for “foodies” especially in LA. The innovation to mix and match cuisines and give a twist to traditional meals mostly appeals to these so called “foodies” or food experts. As an Asian, born and breed in Asia, Asian fusion does not appeal to me or Fukuoka as the mix of taste loses the traditional and nature taste of how dishes are supposed to be like.
For example the Asian fusion dish, cream cheese wonton. The idea is to wrap wonton skins with cream cheese filling then deep frying it. Although you can put a variety of stuffing into wontons, putting in cream cheese which is a western ingredient messes up the simple taste of wontons. Instead of a light dish usually filled with vegetables, you get a heavy pungent and sticky dish. The nature of wontons is lost when the filling is substituted by a very western ingredient. Instead of being healthy, this cream cheese wonton is very oily and fattening.
Fukuoka would not be like this dish unlike “foodies” since this dish is too contemporary and untraditional. Fukuoka would have probably liked the traditional approach to wontons as it is simple and made with lots of vegetables and little meat. A “foodie” will have the complete opposite approach and will most likely want to explore the different fillings that wontons can have. Fukuoka has a completely different attitude of food which includes being one with nature than a “foodie” who puts emphasis on innovation which leads to perhaps a rather pricey dinner bill.
Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer, philosopher, and writer, pioneered his method of “nature farming,” in which he seeks to let crops grow with as little interference from humans as possible. However, though farmers should neither plow nor till the fields, they must do the necessary work to keep this method practical. Fukuoka does not encourage complete abandonment of the fields, but instead focuses on teaching people the advantages of “going back to nature.”
In today’s world, it is next to impossible to find any food or ingredients grown truly naturally. Today’s “foodies” constantly explore new flavors and create recipes, while neglecting the roots from which these dishes came into being. For example, the acai berry hype started when some people discovered the “miracle fruit” in the wild. Yet now, because of the popularity of the fruit, it is being so overly produced that the nutritional benefits have been depleted. Following this, some scientist will most likely try to find a method of preserving the nutrients, even when the best method would have been to have not put them through machines to begin with. Through their efforts to transform food into its best form, “foodies” are in fact encouraging the actions that Fukuoka strives to change.
With his belief that the fundamentals of nature have never changed, Fukuoka would criticize today’s “foodies” as aficionados obsessed with chasing the new. Those who read the blogs and comments of self-proclaimed “foodies” discover that it is not just about the ingredients anymore; there is the atmosphere of the restaurant, the customer service provided by the staff, and the difficulty of making those over-priced, extravagantly decorated dishes. The food itself has become a side topic.