A Note from the Chef
There’s a quote by Anatole France, the prolific French writer of the 19th and 20th century that I haven’t been able to find since I first quoted him in the mid 1980’s. I was working in fashion then and in this quote, France referred to fashion in surprisingly profound terms rather than the accustomed frivolity of his contemporaries – but then again he was constantly bucking the system.
But what – I dare say, does fashion have to do with food – other than I worked in both industries? In a moment…but first, since I still haven’t found this quote (and I searched again last night) I’ll have to paraphrase.
If I could chose a book that would show me what life is like 100 years after my death, would I chose a work on history? No, it would be the same story – nor would it be a work of literature or science. Instead I would choice a women’s fashion magazine, because how they dress would tell me more about humanity than all of the books on history, literature or science combined.
I’ve probably butchered this and if any one of you knows the actual, please let me know. At the time, this quote so struck me that when I made a slide show for my budding fashion consulting business, I led with it. I bring it up again, in my work (calling is more accurate) as a chef and writer, because I think food is like that too – a reflection of our humanity.
I’m sure if Anatole France were to comment on the state of our food 89 years after his death, he’d have something pretty colorful to say. He wasn’t exactly known for his restraint. I wonder if 11 years from now – when it’s actually 100 years after his death – he might see something different? One can hope, can’t she?
Of course, this is a huge topic and one that I can only cover in snippets here and there, but if I were to paraphrase Anatole France again but switch fashion for food, I might say something like this.
If I wanted to know about the health of the world 100 years after my death, I would study how and what people ate. What they ate would tell me if they cherished and took care of their bodies, and how they ate would tell me whether or not they nurtured their spirit.
Until next week,
But before you go, let me ask you this…
What would you chose to see, read, listen to of the world 100 years from now?
Let me know in the comments below.
…or just leave me a sweet comment.
Hi Silvia, I would love to see the place where I spent my childhood, I would love to listen to my great great grandkids and I would love to read my latest own blog post. I might not quite make it this far, but since I’m a longevity coach I’ll definitely give it a try ;-).
Thanks for your wonderful article!
How great would that be Nathalie…to see a place, person, thing that means so much to us live on. Thank you for your consistent support and comments. You’re the best!
Thanks for the interesting question Silvia. It certainly provides some “food for thought”. (Sorry, couldn’t help it). Just returned from Italy where I took a coooking course at Castella di Spannocchia in Tuscany. Do you know it? I suspect if you Google it you will find their story fascinating. Spent a few more weeks in Florence, Siena, Rome, San Gimignano, etc. Learned a lot about the philosophy of Italian cooking, “Knowledge and Taste”. Glad to be aboard. Ciao.
Hi Joe, Oh how wonderful that you got to experience this. I don’t know the Castells but will for sure google it. I’ve recently been invited to do a cooking class in Florence (one of my dreams) and now that you’re aboard, you’ll be the first to know when that will be (probably Spring ’14) or Fall. But for right now, welcome. I’m so glad you’re here.
Anything on the Biscotti menu of yesteryear, or anything you have cookin in the pan right now…I’m easy!
Well I wanted something sweet and you gave it to me. As to what’s on the stove…leftovers! My kitchen has had quite a workout and the leftovers were piling up.Could have used a few more mouths to feed.
I second Corwyn answer, I dearly miss Biscotti’s. I am in Paris, France right now coaching my world ranked student and enjoying all the best of French cooking.
Bob, so good to hear from you. I miss Biscotti too but glad you have the chance to enjoy French cooking – in Paris! I’m jealous. Write back and let us know what you really loved amongst the best.
Oh Silvia. This one is deep. In 100 years I would surely want to check in on my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I would want to see how different their daily lives are. To see what has happened with the environment, with factory farming and over processed everything. Has it finally been made clear the devastating consequences of GMO’s, convenient everything and the 80,000 chemicals that are used so freely in practically every product in our homes? It is my hope that these things have been well cleaned up for at least 75 years at that point and the world is a cleaner, healthier place. Oops. Bit of a soapbox here. Sorry. Great food for thought. haha.
I’m right there on the soapbox with you Lorna. I’m hoping things begin to get cleaned up tomorrow. Maybe if we all do our part, it will be.
Great question! I guess, I would pick…a leftie magazine, something like The Walrus. I would want to know where humanity was, the things we’re doing well and badly, and I’d trust something like that to tell me!
Marsha. I’m not familiar with The Walrus, but any publication that provides a more truthful perspective is priceless for helping us grow in awareness.
What a wonderful post Silvia! I love your fabulous quote at the end. And 100 years from now I would hope to listen, read and see new ways that humans have found to express love and beauty of this world!
Oh man, if ANY person from a 100 years ago could see what we do with our food, where it comes from, and how overly processed most of our foods are, they would probably roll over in their graves! I’m with Lorna on this one!! LOL. I even think back to how my Grandmother used to cook – she did not like eating out, at all. Her property in Hawaii was filled with fruit trees and she always had a little veggie garden going, too. As far as food goes, if I were to look 100 years into the future, I would hope that future generations would continue to cherish the true value of food, and that the whole food industry would evolve back to ‘roots’ and become a sustainable source that nourishes people and the planet in the most healthy way possible. 🙂
I love your writing style, Silvia. Great parallel between fashion food and both being reflection of our times. This will be on my mind for quite some time.
Thanks Shana. It’s been on my mind for over 25 years. Some things just stick around.
Silvia it’s interesting that you bring this up. In 100 years, I hope my kids and their families make the choice to choose food that’s good for their bodies. Love your take on this. 🙂
Food is such a reflection of our humanity. Many of my own personal experiences have been marked by my meals. Lovely thoughts.
Great post Silvia. In 100 years it would be good to come back and see that we had gone full circle as far as our food – back to cooking fresh, healthy foods grown in our own back gardens, and that processed food would be a thing of the past! It would be great to see people using food as ‘medicine’ to nourish their minds and bodies and keep them in optimum health.
Very thought provoking – thanks for sharing!