I just spent a week in a class where the food was provided. Three square meals a day. Just imagine. No planning, no prep, no shopping. Just sitting down to an immaculately prepared meal.
Yes, it was divine. But it also brought home for me one of the most important aspects of food: the sharing. Each day more than 20 of us sat down together and ate our meals. We talked. We shared. We got serious. We laughed.
By the end of the week you couldn’t pry us all apart. Even as I helped shuttle people to the airport and said my goodbyes, I felt a connection like family to the other students. Every student in the class was equally connected to the cook, Amy Welty, and her son, Andrew, who rode around through the kitchen in a baby backpack on her back.
It was quite a contrast to the days when I bought Amy’s street noodles out of the Vagabond van at the Homer Farmers’ Market years ago. It made me think a lot about how we always had family meals when I was a kid, about how hard it is now to get everyone in my household to sit down at the table at the same time.
It made me think of that strange statistic I once heard claiming that the average American spends 31minutes preparing, eating and cleaning up after meals.
Even if everyone sat down together for that 31 minute time span, there simply wouldn’t be much time spent connecting with each other.
Food is about so much more than just the eating. Sure, it helps if the salad is a crisp, fresh combination of local greens, the fish is newly caught, and the dishes all concocted with time and care. But the ingredient that makes it all shine is who you share it with.
There is a certain level of joy from shopping for it at the Farmers Market on Wednesdays or Saturdays down on Ocean Drive, or fishing for it with our nets on our local rivers, but nothing can replace a good conversation with loved ones.
Remember, the Market, on Ocean Drive is open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays.