I am a self-proclaimed food philosopher. Maybe I’ll be able to convince a few others of my suspicion after “How to Eat Bittermelons and Brownies: Recipes from a Philosopher Mom” is complete. Until then, I am an unverified food philosopher and an imperfect but verified mom.
I used to be a design historian and secretly a design philosopher. Design brought me to the dinner table, figuratively and literally. In Adolf Loos’ roast beef and Loewy’s burgers, I found insight into how creative people think about things. I became fascinated with how what we eat flavors how we see the world.
Whether I categorize myself as a food writer or a design historian, I always approach edible and inedible things through the lens of philosophy. Instead of looking at things through a historical analysis of context, change, and style, I like to ask: what makes this thing possible? Where does this thing begin? How is this thing, an independent thing?
Regardless of whether I’m looking at a table, a dinner plate, a fork or a piece of fried chicken on a plate, or Hawaiian Kona coffee in a teal ceramic mug, my inner-questioning is the same: conditions, origins, and autonomy.
I experience the edible and inedible as events of self-examination. My teal mug of Hawaiian Kona coffee sitting on my small square cafe table is more than mere caffeine to sustain my thoughts. It is rent. Bitter. Sweet. Milky. Warm. Traveled. Brewed. Stirred. Transported. Grown. Exchanged. Fragile. Heavy. Liquid. Deco. Diner style. Comforting. Inspiring. It is always more than my analysis can reveal, like myself. It is more than its history. Everything is a question, awaiting a response. But, never THE response.
I am a food philosopher not because I review restaurants, document my travel eats, collect food narratives, curate food poems, post pictures of food and write recipes. I am a philosopher who wonders about how my cup of coffee came to be. It is real, worldly, messy and mysterious. As I do so, I am not “ecstatic” in a Heideggerian sense, I am not “thrown in the world.” Rather I strain to stay “in” and among things, I strain to stay with my cup of coffee, even as I drain it and will soon abandon it in a bin of dirty dishes to washed up by a stranger later today.
I am a hungry philosopher because I feed on wonder. Like you.
As I work on my manuscript, I often lose my place and perspective. This was just a quick reminder that I write because you read. I read because you write. We are all questions and responses. Consuming and consumed.
I so appreciate you.