As those of us who hunt and gather, farm and fish go into the harvest season, the primacy of the human drive for food is, I think, coming home to all of us. My friend Jen, at Milkweed & Teasel, posted a piece yesterday that got to the heart of it. If you have a minute, you might want to read it.
Food is one of our primal needs, and the urge to get it, for ourselves and our families, is a deep-seated evolutionary imperative. Procuring our own food taps into one of the most basic compulsions, and the satisfaction is commensurately primal. This isn’t about my carbon footprint or my food’s provenance. It’s not about pesticides or food-miles. It’s not about happy chickens or organic tomatoes. It’s something visceral, something animal. It’s positively reptilian.
The other night, Kevin was sautéing some of our shiitake mushrooms with a couple of onions, and the cutting board he was using was surrounded by our harvest. There was a basket of our eggs and a bowl of our potatoes. There was an assortment of tomatoes and two beautiful eggplants. There was a cucumber salad, seasoned with our sea salt. There were the jars of grape jelly, made from the bounty of my friend Melissa’s arbor.
I looked at it and I felt very, very good.
The gratification doesn’t come from any higher-order feeling like pride, I don’t think. Any bonehead can grow tomatoes. It’s the brain-stem satisfaction of sustenance.