16 June, 2010

Getting Fresh

This week, my family and I are traveling in the Basque region of Europe. Today, we are in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, and we spent the morning at the market. Back home I usually do my grocery shopping without the kids. If I bring them along on a shopping trip, I forget what I came for and end up coming home with cereal with cartoon characters on the box. Today was different. 

The food at this market was fresh. Really fresh. In fact, all of it was just picked, caught, or still crawling around (as in the *vivo* crab in the above picture). Usually, I have to repeatedly tell my five year old to stop grabbing the groceries. Not today. She kept a safe distance away from the lobster that waved at her with its elasticized claws. My girls were transfixed as a woman skillfully gutted a fish, but were not at all tempted to touch that. Those fish sticks...That's where it comes from?

Today, I was reminded, along with my children, of something. Our food may eventually end up in a bag or a box, but it doesn't begin that way. It comes from the ground, from the vines, from the ocean. It is planted; it is grown; it is caught. It is harvested; it is picked; it is filleted. It is inspected; it is prepared; it is packaged. Our food, it is a process. However, it shouldn't simply be processed because then we lose our appreciation for it.

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