“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
Harriet Van Horne was a wise woman.
I have always been a supporter of American farmers broadly speaking; not just of our farm or of farms like ours, but of farms in general. It takes all types of types, as they say, and that is no more true when it comes to raising the food that keeps our shared humanity alive. Of course, there are also reasons we do things the way we do and food quality is not the least of them. “We believe in good food,” is our motto by design, not accident. I don’t trust people who don’t have developed taste buds and diverse tastes. I don’t trust people who don’t love food of all kinds; who aren’t consistently excited to try something new, to find something delicious. Which isn’t to say I don’t trust anyone who dislikes certain foods, but I am certainly distrustful of people who dislike many foods or who don’t see food as something that begs to be explored.
And I am definitely skeptical of people who do not enjoy the act of cooking. Not the harried kind of cooking so many of us are forced into on weekday evenings, the type tucked between workdays and nights raising a family, but the kind that you can embark on when you’re not in a hurry. The kind of cooking that happens with a glass of wine or a cold bottle of beer in hand and a towel slung over the shoulder. I am skeptical of people who never enjoy that kind of cooking, who never take for themselves the sort of satisfaction that only comes from a dish made of fresh, whole food and fussed over a little at the stovetop.
Recently, I have been giving even more thought than usual to food quality; it’s role in all of this and much more. I have my opinions about food quality, but I wonder how representative they are of the wider world. Do you feel food quality is improving? Declining? Staying about the same? Over what period?
So I put together a short survey and am welcoming feedback. When I did this a few years ago with the “What Makes a Good Farmer?” survey it opened up a lot of interesting avenues of thought that I had not previously considered, and I hope this time accomplishes the same thing. So far, the responses I’ve gotten after just sending out the link on social media yesterday are definitely challenging my expectations and providing insight that, while not surprising, is definitely worth exploring.
I plan to write up an article on the results in the next few weeks, probably here. Until that goes up I’ll leave the survey open to responses and check in regularly. If you have a few moments to spare please click here to give your thoughts, and be sure to share the link with your friends and family as well. The more the merrier — and better representative of the greater population, I hope.