What is on your table now?
Trees can provide a source of fresh food supplementation, especially when located within walking distance of a person's home. Whether it is a harvest of fresh fruit or nuts, the just picked food provides a source of nourishment, both for the body, but often times, also for the spirit. And if the source of the food is a tree we always return to throughout the year, a relationship is formed allowing us to build memories tied to the landscape and season; allowing us the opportunity to weave new and old traditions, memories and social networks into our lives.
Artist Ayumi Matzusaka, Founder of Dycle, and Plant Five for Life recently embarked on a story collection exercise, to explore more generally, how the food on one's table might tell the story of relationship between plant, food, landscape and culture. We asked various individuals from around the world to tell us the story of what was on their table today:
Christine, USA (visiting Spain), 40+
In August, we went walking in the fields outside of the Village. Our path weaved past fields divided by wall after wall of hand stacked rock. The trees branches spilled over their boundaries onto the path and bushes sprouted from the cracks between the stones. A harvest beckoned us at the path's edges.
The trees were generous; yielding the first figs, and even almonds. The thorny bushes were thick with blackberries. The ground released the smells of thyme and rosemary.
We gorged on the fresh berries, froze the rest for later, paused on the path and popped the figs into our mouths, and then ate them again sliced into yogurt and on top of a warm dinner concoction made the next day. The almonds we saved for another time, but they were also put to good use in hammer-practice by our little one.
Maria Teresa, Castellon, Spain, 60+
I waited all week to shop today, Saturday, when the people who grow food in their backyard come to the center of town with their truck to the market. Just picked that morning so the food is incredibly fresh, and probably no sprays.
This time of year the trees give us the oranges, quince, lemons. Lemons unlike the ones in the stores. These are full of flavor. So many oranges. Cabbages. And squash. Have you ever had the squash? It is so sweet!
I bought these artichokes at the store the other day. This is the time for them now, too. And cauliflower. They are so cheap! All of this food for only 6 Euros. It would be impossible in Barcelona.
All our life it has been these foods at this time of year. I suspect it is the same for all the Villages and small Towns near here.
I will keep these quince for a few days and make a cake out of it because my son loves it.
Cindy, Long Island, NY, USA, 67
For Christmas Eve, I'm making white clam sauce. The cockles I am using come from Puget Sound, Washington. I bought them at a local fish shop. In the winter in New York, we are not getting local fish. I tend to make the same dishes each year for the holidays, mostly because my family depends on it for tradition purposes!
I'll also be making salmon which was purchased at the same fish shop and comes from Newfoundland. I'm also serving shrimp scampi.....bought at same fish store, coming from Ecuador.
There are a whole lot of other dishes, but I'll include just one more....the takeaway gift! (this is given to friends and family). The chocolate is bought at a local candy shop, with the chocolate coming from Hawaii.
This (interview response) was a good break for me from all my cooking! Truthfully, I had to do a little research and I was embarrassed to realize I did not know the origins of all the food I was putting on the table!
Raquel, Asuncion, Paraguay, 34
My daughter is a picky eater and getting her excited about food is always an adventure or simply a one way end.
Today in the afternoon, I told her that I will make her some waffle, but actually it is more like a "panquete" with a different flap shape. Waffle is one of the few edible things that she will happily eat. I am not the best cook, but I can make waffles.
I used oats, 2 eggs, a little bit of milk, one banana, and honey. I blended it altogether and then I did the magic in the fire.
Today she ate it all!!!
We used our favorite 100 % pure honey, which comes the surrounding area of the Tapyta Reserve, a natural reserve located in the department of Caazapa in Paraguay.
We met the local beekeepers. They are very kind and sweet people, as the honey itself. Maxine loves to add more of it to the waffle once it is ready.