Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Quiche. And recipes.

This past Sunday brunch I made a quiche, comprised of Chinese yardlong beans, red onions, orange bell peppers, eggs, and milk. Guests were arriving at noon.

11:11 a.m. I had only cracked half the eggs.

11: 12 a.m. The next ten minutes was a chopping slurry, a constant tension between careful tending and intentional butchering. I had no recipe, but I wanted a savory dish amidst the concocting Sugarland - raspberry scones, cinnamon fruit salad, sweet breads, fruit juices, and more jams than I could make in what seemed a lifetime.

My mind jolted, mixing in ingredients haphazardly - without numbers, measuring cups, or second-hand efforts. Whether it was the fear of not having the quiche ready in time or my apathy towards cleaning copious dishes in a compact, yet cozy San Francisco apartment (probably more so the latter), I placed it, split in two entirely unequal baking dishes, into the oven. I was entirely unsure what would entail the next time I saw my friend, The Quiche. It could have over burnt, smoldering the apartment with unpleasant odors, ominous clouds, and unsettling reactions.

11:37 a.m. Could-of-should-0f-would-of. Instead, I smoldered the apartment with utensils and plates to our brunch space in the living room.

11:46 a.m. I sneaked a peak. "Umm. It hasn't changed."

Brunch ensued as guests arrived, settled in, and took their places. I took out The Quiche, and everyone ate, including myself who grabbed a hunk of a piece to satisfy my hunk of a mouth.

When I moved out of my house for the first time last year, I needed recipes. I didn't grow up in a food culture emphatic of teaching how food was made, and let alone, what went into my mouth. Recipes call for food histories, family & cultural ties, and intergenerational relationships. Recipe-documentarians are historians, telling of a part of history that saturates into every human being - food.

After brunch, I took out a piece of paper and pen. I became a historian that afternoon.

On that note, I find myself contemplating the future of American university dining - how these students, the "future of our country", eat. I do this simply because I am one. Most likely, the majority of collegiate careers eat in the service of professional cooks and may not harness these connections aforementioned fully until being forced out of that system. Thousands of recipes, and more importantly - histories, ties, and relationships as aforementioned - are missed due to a potentially-hazardous all-you-can-eat mentality. Being forced out of that system oftentimes means finding a dwelling (i.e. apartment), understanding transportation to and from dwelling, and how to transport food and water to this dwelling. These thoughts are mustered from the ultimate questions of, "How does one want to live?" and "What is my well-being?" Food, along with

And yes, if you were wondering, we had brunch at noon. Try it sometime.

Photograph courtesy N. Linesch.

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