I have been reading a most interesting book this week, the detail of which I will share later in the month. The author describes an interview she held, back in 1991, about virtual reality which in those days was pretty much unheard of. The author asked the question "Aren't you worried that people will get addicted?" The reply and emphatic No - for one reason: Texture. Any scenario could potentially be created, you could be anyone or anything you wanted to be but there is no texture which as animals, we crave, it keeps us rooted and grounded. A life lived fast with labour saving devices* can strip us of texture. The 'old' tasks growing food, baking bread, preserving food are our interaction with the natural world in a mutually beneficial way. Real comfort food.
We have, as part of our learning, been finding out about the many, varied and interesting festivals and traditions observed around the world. It has been interesting to note as we observe and celebrate them not only the similarity between the different festivals but also how many are centred around food. In many ways this is hardly surprising given how old some of these festivals are likely to be and how vital food production was to our ancestors.
Some festivals are still synonymous with food. Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, the many foods associated with Christmas, the specific foods and fasting of Lent, Ramadan and Passover. I have found recipes mentioned as part of my research learning about some of the new, to us, festivals and this seems like a perfect way for us to integrate them into our lives and continue to observe them in the future. A perfect place for me to start has been the two lovely book on my shelves Festivals, Family and Food and Festivals Together which between them contain many festivals and recipes. So far we have enjoyed eating Besan Ladoo a very sweet sweet made for sharing for Divali, Spicy Biscuits on St Nicholas Day, St Lucia Buns for the feast day of St Lucia, Potato Latkes for Hanukah, Gallete de Rois for Twelfth Night, a Spicy Apple Punch to toast the apple tree for Wassailing and a seed cake for Imbolc. I am sure there will be many more delicious recipes that we make and share throughout the year. If you have any to share I would love to hear about them!
* I am not for one minute going to suggest we rid ourselves of all of these!