Knowing the food we eat is essential. First, to know that we are not being poisoned, but also to appreciate all the labor it took to come to us. We often hear these stories: our great-grandmothers raised their chicken, helped them come out of their shells as babies, fed them everyday, killed them with their bare hands and cooked them. They knew what they were eating. Same for the bread, from the seeds to flour making, to bread making. And for the vegetables.
As a modern urban youth, not only we are disconnected from the agricultural process, but we are offered such a large variety and amount of food, that we don't even notice sometimes, that there are some ingredients involved in the dish we brought, though it took a great care to grow and transport and commercialize it.
I decided to get to know my food with the tools and ways I learned as a city dweller: I will spend time exclusively doing activities like meeting around a coffee, going for ice cream, taking afternoon naps, go to school and shows with it, presenting my food to my friends, neighbours as the one and only... parsnip of my day.
I decided that a carrot would be the best food edible I could develop a love relationship with in one day. So I went online on groceries store websites to look at their profiles like one would do on Tinder. Unsatisfied with this impersonal cyber quest, I decided to go to a fruit shop or a market like one would go to a type of bar to meet people of their liking. Marché Jean-Talon in Montréal appeared the best option to meet a locally-raised organic carrot.
Looking at different sizes and types of carrots in various merchant displays. I met a the same time two friends from cooking school who advised me that the biggest carrots are not the sweetest. That maybe a small nantes carrot would also have the best to reveal in taste, no matter if its skin color would be orange, purple, or yellow. I understood, but did not wanted to give up on size, for it to be a tiny breakable carrot.
It is only then that we spoke about the parsnip. Similar in shape as the carrot, sweeter no matter its size, it was soon in season and only one stands had some from last year's harvest available. I chose it with his brothers.
We first took our first photo. Ideally, I would not have bought my new friend, but just met him. We went for a coffeee/water to a shop next to the market. There, I could look at his complex skin and scars from the winter in the freezer. He was still hard and fresh.
He offered me a necklace. I told him it was going too fast. He did not respond. We went back to my place.
At home, I presented him to my friends in Germany. My downstairs neighbour was too suspicious to meet him.
We took an afternoon nap, then went to get an ice cream together.
He followed me to school in my German class and met my colleagues. He got jealous when I ate a banana, I think.
We went to a comic show and then to a cocktail bar together with my friend Maryline.
We looked at the stars together that night.
The next morning, his skin was a bit more wrinkled, and so came the real decision time. Should I consume you? Vegetables and plants and animals are not growing on the surface of the Earth so that humans can eat them. No, species grow because they can, with no purpose, no matter if someone sets parameters to help them grow. We, humans, often think that things that are edible are meant for us, that they don't have the right to grow, live, and rot just for themselves. Yes, there are hungry people in this world and they should eat. But edible livings should also have the right to exist for themselves, not to serve us.