Sunday, January 2, 2011

CandyAnna Creation Myth Part 1 : Visit with Me.

Hi. I am baaaaack. Happy New Year to everyone including myself.

Why thank you!

No problem. Let's chat.

I want to begin the year by taking a brief glance into the creation myth of CandyAnna also known as CACMP1.

Said in a Melanie Wilkes dramatic voice, "To begin my life, I must begin at the beginning of my life..."

CandyAnna was born into the Midwestern tradition of food and drink being the gathering place- the social rallying point, if you will. Good food or bad food (Indiana really isn't known for their fresh seafood-instead for their jello salads and sacrilegious sugar treatment of fresh off the farm fruit), food is at the center of all human connection. Gallons of coffee are consumed, miles of pie, and small armies of "salads' that make little sense to the modern palette (Snicker salad anyone? trust me...say no, thank you).

Midwesterners have many flaws, but they will always serve you coffee and be nice to your face. They will also, without fail, bring food to any sort of crisis situation. They take care of their own, and dishes wrapped in cellophane designed to 'keep', are their bandages. Such situations include death, illness, failing business, missing children, fender benders, neighborhood graffiti, storm damage, and out-of-town visitors. When high winds drove one our gorgeous old trees into the corner of our house, tearing off an entire corner of the structure and making my sister's bedroom decor visible from the street, neighbors came, within minutes, bearing cold cuts and contractor recommendations. While perhaps being a factor in the Midwest's well known obesity problem, food & comfort, food & hospitality, food & conversation, and food & care are all intrinsically linked. Conversation is better over coffee. Happy Birthday is best said with a treat and 'I love you' is often clumsily conveyed in the words "I made this for you."

This glass of very nice whiskey & this Funfetti birthday cake prepared by my father literally means "I love you!"

This tradition has taught me that if you seemingly have nothing in common with a person simply ask them their favorite food/restaurant/childhood birthday cake. The eyes light up and conversation will flow easily. Even the most rugged of anorexics will have a beloved dish their grandmother made they remember not eating (sorry...poor taste?). Food and drink are the most basic universal ties we all have to our family, our childhood, and our culture. As someone with mild social anxiety in large groups of strangers, usually known as 'parties', having a food blog makes things SO MUCH EASIER. When this information comes about, complete strangers come up to me with their eyes shining, ready to discuss the best cupcake they ever had, the new stew recipe they tried, or their mother's continental cooking experiments. It is fascinating and delightful!

My Midwestern food/social tradition has now permanently connected food and human connection. Food and drinks are the fuel that drives humans relating to one another, the Midwestern art of "visiting."

Part two of the creation myth moves this little girl to the wide world of Brooklyn. Food isn't the fuel of the conversation. Food is the conversation. Good food, bad food, vegan food, cheese food...edibles rapidly became a good 60% of my daily conversation (depending if it is an election year). We don't discuss elite based culinary masterpieces but instead street food, comfort food and food made in the home with an emphasis on care and quality. Critics have maintained the current 'hipster' generation has no convictions or ideas and only style. But I see people everyday struggling to bypass the tech world to connect in real time, and usually over the same things my grandparents did- excellent pie, gallons of coffee, and a beer.

Don't listen to me. Listen to her.