By: Emily J Mccorkell
Eating To Truly Live,And Bond With Friends And New Friends.
If you have been following my articles here in Innovative Health Magazine, you will know I’m not a native to Derry- Londonderry, Northern Ireland, where I now live, cook, and eat.
Derry is a city that has struggled with the conflicts between Irish and British, Catholics and Protestants, for hundreds of years. And in way it it is a similarities with Flint, Michigan – not only social tensions but economic downturns that affect daily life.
I moved from America in 2005. Derry has been a big transition for me. It has opened my eyes to tensions and conflicts here in Derry that have been long eclipsed by louder news stories elsewhere in the world. But I now know that the fractures and distances between cultures and classes are heavily felt by a city that is so welcoming to its outsiders.
I began to see something interesting happening at the local festivals and food fairs. People didn’t care who was next to them, or who they were buying food from. Food broke down a lot of barriers that divided people.
But it does more than simply break down barriers.Food is the delicious mortar that binds individuals and societies together, masking the jagged edges and sharp corners for the time that is spent sharing, laughing, and enjoying food together. It has the power to blend harsh edges and join strangers and loners in a momentary eclipse of their realities, into friends and family even if for the short duration of a meal.
Food doesn’t simply help mend the current and future cracks. Food tells a story. This is food anthropology: the face and identity of a culture – how a culture has survived, evolved through time, and continues to shape old-fashioned and modern techniques into distinct flavors. Food is a cultural vehicle for engagement.
“The human trait of sharing food is exclusive to its species. Humans relate to food in a way that is unique to mankind. We do not simply feed.” These wise words were written by Gina M. Almerico of the University of Tampa. The creativity of cooking is the passion; the consumption of the meal is the consummation.,
The table is an intimate, sacred space. New friends are made, old quarrels forgotten, and traditions are both continued and started.
Often, in the contemporary Western world, people live to eat: we listen to our cravings and eat the foods that make us feel good… and then start diets, join Slimming World, and sign up with running clubs after Christmas! Conversely, in other societies and in some developing nations, people are eating to live. Food is merely a means to survival. We are disproportionately out of balance.
I’m offering you a third option: Why not try eating to truly live? To engage with those around you. To welcome the distant and lonely. Everyone sustains bruises in life; how can you soften those bruises over a bite to eat? Let’s consider eating to help our society live and thrive.
Meals invite, almost beg, inclusivity – food is not meant to be eaten alone. Enjoy the journey that food takes you on, going forward. And remember to invite someone along on your journey of food.
Here is an easy starter! This easy Lemon Blueberry cake is a perfect – and delicious – cake to share with friends… And to make new friends with! Especially inviting on warm Summer afternoons or after meals.
LEMON BLUEBERRY UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
½ cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
3 cups flour
1½ tablespoons baking powder
1 cup lemon curd ½ to 1 cup of blueberries, depending on your pan size (and love of blueberries!).A lemon simple syrup (made with 1/4 cup sugar and 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water. Simmer until thickened into a syrup)
METHOD Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and milk. Fold in 1 cup of flour and baking powder at a time until completely combined. Mix in lemon curd. Arrange the blueberries in the bottom of the pan. If using 1 cup blueberries, feel free to mix any remaining berries into the batter. Carefully pour the batter over the blueberries. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Once cooked, cool for 10 minutes and turn out onto a serving plate. Using a toothpick (or a chopstick for bigger holes!), poke the top of the cake all over and drizzle the simple syrup onto the cake. Use as much or as little syrup as you like.
As always – enjoy your cooking… and your life! And do let me know how you get on! You can find me and “Lo+Slo” on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And, of course, over at lo-slo.co.uk. I look forward to hearing from Innovative Health Magazine readers!