Rebel Guide: the seed
I, like many, learnt to cook in my mothers kitchen. Peeling potatoes, slicing carrots, washing dishes. Food in our house was the centre piece to an ever expanding collection of friends and family, brought together through good times and bad, around a table experiencing as one a meal that served as a common experience through which we then shared laughter, tears, anger and joy. The act of eating together was the bond that held us together, sometimes for many hours stretched into warm nights or freezing afternoons. It was more than just food, it was how we related to each other, as children how we related to adults and made our voices heard, it was how we learnt to share, to give, to nurture, to fight and to love.
When my mother died I took up cooking with a fervour I had never previously known. When the clouds of grief lifted, piece by piece, I understood that cooking for me had been a way to continue a legacy, the act of bringing people together over food, watching a meal I had prepared become a means through which to force people to put down their phones and engage with each other, to laugh and cry and debate, to tune into their bodies, their hunger and their thirst. To tune into their relationships with each other each other. To share food and to share a snippet of time together, connected through the act of eating. An act both essential and indulgent at the same time. That was the legacy I had inherited, it is a common legacy we all share through our ancestors but it is one that is often threatened and challenged by modern society and consumerism.
Perhaps the idea of groups sitting together, talking, debating, putting the world to rights, is a more powerful challenge to the structures of society that do not serve us than we give it credit for. There is a power and strength in that community, brought together with a common purpose around food and nourishment that knows no bounds. Food can be identity, recipes passed down through generations and across continents. It is the act of love from a mother to a child or a healing gift for those in turmoil. We can keep armies of protestors fed and strong as they wage battles against their governments or corporations. We can bring new life into our communities, beauty into forgotten and neglected spaces. We can take back ownership, power and strength. It is our ancestors, our future generations and the environment around us.
There is an army of food revolutionaries in all corners of the world, making choices about the food they grow, catch and eat. Choices about how they eat and with whom, feeding themselves and each other with nourishment and ideas. It is these stories and acts of revolutionary love that I want to capture here so that we can feed off these beautiful seeds and grow our own acts of food rebellion.