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Essential Journal

  /  Issues   /  Issue 58 – The Food & Drink Issue

Issue 58 – The Food & Drink Issue

‘If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

– J.R.R. Tolkien

Despite the inherent universality of the stuff, food sure can be a divisive little thing. Food, as a concept, is a hodgepodge stew of lifelong allergies and conflicting philosophies. It’s flavoured with personal antipathies and lazy ambivalences, garnished with outspoken pretences, and served on a plate of inherited and/or feigned intolerances.

But if there’s one thing we might all agree on despite our blind spots, biases, hangups, and bad memories, it’s the rather lovely notion that food is a journey. And why not? Food is transportive in the most essential and abstract of ways.

In the most obvious and literal sense, food has its own journey. From the far-flung to the farm-to-table, each raw ingredient comes with its own story of how it made its way to your plate. Then there are the chefs, of course. Those who have endured years of training, tutelage, and good ol’ trial and error to get where they are today. Even the simple act of reading this issue will take you from the streets of Birmingham to the sidewalks of Chicago – all in the turn of a page, no less. Quite the ride. Quite the read. Quite the feast. Quite the fable. 

In the more abstract sense, there are the personal journeys. Those that transport us not to places, but to times in our lives. Those are my favourites. There’s no quicker way home than the scent of a Sunday roast; no finer guide from sleep to waking than the smell of fresh coffee; no greater sanctuary than the sniff of something that sweeps you off to the safety of your childhood.

Regardless of our disparate tastes, food is still by turns the great communicator, the common denominator, and the grand unifier. It is also, as you may have guessed by now, the running theme for the latest issue of Essential Journal.

You gonna eat that?

Will HALBERT.