Culture and Society
Tonight it seems a flowering branch of the tree of pleasure to sit on my green couch with a tumb…
A man in his kitchen must exhibit dexterity with a chef’s knife. That’s essential. He should also possess a devil-may-care nonchalance around the spice rack and a cunning knowledge of various cheeses. Good, you’ve sailor-knotted your apron. That’s important. You are also wearing oven mitts. A little excessive, but she might think it’s cute. She has a sloshing glass of vino in her hand and a grin on her face. Excellent!
I look at the provolone in my hand and notice that it’s not completely enclosed in its plastic wrap. An entire corner, hard and dry, peeks out. And then it hits me with a finality that nearly knocks me over: my mother and father are in trouble. It may seem odd that a faultily covered hunk of cheese would fill me with such sorrow, but that speck of inattention, that very dismissible oversight on the part of my parents, is the final, incontrovertible evidence that their time has come.
My family, in particular, was in danger. We were the wrong religion (Presbyterian) for our neighborhood, and my father had a reputation as a Darwinist. To many of our neighbors, Christians and Muslims alike, his belief that humans had evolved from monkeys was blasphemy, and he was careful not to show his face in public.
Cooking has always been a part of my life, but more like the furniture than an object of scrutiny, much less a passion. I counted myself lucky to have a parent — my mother — who loved to cook and almost every night made us a delicious meal. By the time I had a place of my own, I could find my way around a kitchen well enough, the result of nothing more purposeful than all those hours spent hanging around the kitchen while my mother fixed dinner.
Barbara Kingsolver On Writing, Politics, And Human Nature
This isn’t about “paper or plastic” or some vision of self-congratulatory parsimony. It’s about replacing material gratifications with spiritual ones. I don’t know how much carbon I’m offsetting with my choices. I just prefer to be a good animal rather than one that fouls its nest.
I became a vegetarian in September 1971 after meeting a man wearing a white robe during orientation week at Cornell University. I saw this saintlike figure reposing on a hill, staring at a tree. Curious, I approached; he told me his name was Peter and begged me to sit. Soon he was explaining the Essene Gospel of Peace.