Culture is an ever shifting, self distorting phenomena. Philosophies, technologies, traditions and aesthetics constantly converge and seperate over time to create mere historical moments that constitute monolithic apexes of definitive characteristics. The ego may place itsself within a fixed point of cultural experience, however that experience is the cumulative effect of so many tributaries joining and creating eddies as they flow on…
That is to say…there is No going home.
It is impossible to recapture what once was. A diaspora doesn’t grow up with the particular terroir of their ancestor’s home gracing their lips. An urban population will develop poor genetic expression via nutritional deprivation. You will speak a different language than your Grandmothers, even if technically, it is the same tongue.
There is No Going Home- but there is deciding what home will be Now.
Food is as intimately tied to comfort and identity as it is to brain and bodily function. Our memories of food wind inextricably into our memories of joy or discomfort and those we love and places we hated to be. When we allow ourselves to be filled constantly by convenience at the expense of nutrition, or when we eat foods that are uninspiring tributes to modernist functionality, we participate in our own loss of tradition and ritual.
But to reclaim the food traditions that came before us, to remember different ways of looking at food resources, and to in some cases, reinterpret the memory into something more functional for the demands we face now…well…that would be clever.
A clever food is nutritionally rich. A clever food is thrifty and resourceful. A clever food nods to our ancestors without ignoring the needs of today.