Afterword: A Perpetual Feast
"...a happy heart is a perpetual feast."
-Book of Proverbs, Chapter 15
It has been about a year since I started working on the blog project. A friend suggested I should try my hand at writing about how food played a role throughout my recovery process. I was scared to try. My thoughts remained, it seemed, tongue tied. But the opportunity to revisit some of the moments in which food seemed to be a beacon, a coach, or even a muse in the journey to wholeness after a traumatic event were ones I did want to rediscover. And after we settled on a maximum of 10 stories and no more than 200 words each, I decided to work through my doubts, exercise some little-used higher thinking skills, and commit words to paper.
The Stone House Center for Public Humanities published the blog as A Feast for the Soul. The work and the time the staff took in editing and putting my funny little drawings, sketches, and artwork together was a blessing to me. I was gobsmacked when the blog was finally released and impressed by the quality of work in the stylizing of the pages. What at one time felt like my private recollections were being shared with a wider audience and I wasn’t sure what to expect from myself or other’s responses to the blog. I am a timid person and even at my age uncomfortable with attention. What if people disliked it? What should I do? What if people liked it? What, then, should I do?
The COVID-19 pandemic hit after the debut of the blog series and I found myself looking forward each week as new episodes were released; sometimes because I could not recall what story came next. I wanted to know what I wrote about.
Like a chef, creating A Feast for the Soul was an offering I hoped would bring some sort of pleasure to others. A blog, however, can seem a self-centered, self-directed, ego-driven dish. I remain unsure if the packaging of the meal was correct; perhaps the blog was more of a self-serve buffet for readers to pick and choose whatever morsels they liked and leave the rest. I, as the creator and maker, enjoyed the experience of planning, plating, and serving. It was what I learned in those long days and months of recovery: food planning and preparation was one of the more significant ways I communicate, “I’m still here,” and, “I want to let you know I care about you.”
I am still fascinated by food production, food distribution, and the way in which food is a tool with which we can use the discipline of the humanities to learn so much about the world. I like tasting new-to-me food. I like peeling away personal palates from collective tastes. I like wondering about stories told through food. And in future, I may let food tell its stories through me and my words. But for now, this is my wrap.
I would like to leave you with one final menu, below. Within it are dishes and ingredients that I encourage you to use to explore, learn, and construct your own "perpetual feasts."
Bon appetit, dear reader!
“I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” and “Somebody Feed Phil”
(PBS/Netflix series, with writer/producer Phil Rosenthal)
How Carrots Won the Trojan War (book by Rebecca Rupp)
You and I Eat the Same: On the Countless Ways Food and Cooking Connect Us to One Another (book, edited by Chris Ying)
No Passport Required (PBS series, featuring Chef Marcus Samuelson)
In Defense of Food (book, by Michael Pollan)
Binging with Babish (Youtube, with cook and author Andrew Rea)
The Rituals of Dinner (book, by Margaret Visser)