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I am currently working on a Master's Degree in Nutrition and requirements for Registered Dietician R.D. I plan to run my first full marathon in 2009. This blog is about everything I learn, eat, and do along the way. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Reflection on "Gastronomical Me " MFK Fisher

Gastronomical Me ReflectionWhen you describe the first thing you remember tasting, a grayish pink fuzz would not seem as appealing as it did written by MFK Fisher. While she was only four years old, I immediately was drawn into Gastronomical Me because I simultaneously remembered the strawberry jam spread onto my jam-sandwiches for the duration of elementary school. My mother had packed for me jam-only bread because I hated peanut butter and said that it made me cough. Maybe it had to do with what Fisher later describes as childhood palates, that children best stand sweetness. A jam sandwich satisfied me because it was sweet, not creamy or salty when it occurs with peanut butter. It also satisfied me because my mother had made it, packed it with the perfect accompaniments and it was a memory of her during daily lunchtime without her. The short, violent cannings involved with making such jam dredged up so many memories for both myself and Fisher. Fisher describes this childhood memory as such a beautiful and smelly task, wondering why adults did not think it was more fun. I continued on with MFK Fisher as she ate with her father that night as she found out that food was something to be shared with people, something beautiful that should not be thought of only as a daily necessity. At that time, I stopped and put MFK Fisher down on the countertop. I was suddenly aware of how often I eat only for the purpose of fuel. I nearly almost always look at food as fuel, something delicious, but fuel. Because of the overwhelming associations, I often ignore what other meanings, smells, and memories accompany food. As I allow myself to reminisce, my memory is flooded by the smell of doughnuts in the car on the way to my grandfather’s boat house while I was about four years old too. When we arrived to the boat after what seemed to be a century, the excitement of finally getting to eat my pink frosted piece of heaven was so overpowering that I stood on my grandfather’s boat holding it up in the air as if it was something to be praised by God. Fortunately, I have the photograph to prove this and more importantly to remind me of how important food is to not only nourish our bodies but to nourish our souls. It should fill our heart’s palates not just our mouths’, just as Fisher writes.After marrying for the first time at only twenty one and after tasting the hot chocolate and croissants of Paris, Fisher describes the first true meal with her husband. They had been staying at the best place in town for that pure reason alone, knowing too little to appreciate the famous chefs or wine cellars, and only surviving it because of their youth. I have shared my own “Cocktail Montana”, drank too much wine, and come home zigzagging up the stairs. The company I had for the meal and for the drinking was the most important asset to enjoying that night of bliss. We were safe and protected in our very own charmed, gastronomical circle, as Fisher so perfectly describes. As Fisher delves into married life, needing four plates and forks instead of two, I laughed out loud. There is not one area of our house that does not need updating, remodeling or paint. I condone my own living space, yet one of the first things I did when I moved in was purchase more dinnerware! While we do not even have enough seating for our friends, “the faithful ones that are always welcome”, at least now we have the proper amount of plates and forks as did Fisher. I found myself laughing again twice more shortly after this, at Karmarzellahaus during the keenest moment in Fisher’s gastronomical life. Potato chips, fried in real butter and salted with gros sal, enjoyed by Fisher as a pregnant woman enjoys chocolate cake at wee hours of the morning. I laughed yet again out loud, because I thought to myself, “Who does not enjoy chocolate cake at 3 am? I having cravings for chocolate cake just the same as a pregnant woman” ? I certainly do not have chocolate cake cravings every night, but I understood that I was reeled into what Fisher was writing. I do not enjoy potato chips fried in real butter, and yet I understood the indulgence through her comparison with chocolate cake, through my past cravings of chocolate cake. The ten course meal Monseiur Paul prepared for Fisher was also another incredible section of Gastronomical Me. While I may never have had such a gourmet feast of Truite-Bleu finished off with an astounding apple tart, I understand knowing you should not be as hungry as you are, knowing you have never tasted such savory bites, and praying for ten normal appetites so that you could continue the meal! It was quite refreshing to read of a server that took such passion, pleasure, and perfection of their work. I agree with Fisher that waiters and waitresses are nicer than “people”, providing someone with such a fantastic arrangement of dishes, one after another, and taking pleasure in their enjoyment is hard to find or describe. If we could all take that much passion, pleasure and perfection in what we give and consume, I think everyone could be just a tiny bit happier.