Oct 09 2008

The Quest

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I have written many blogs, screenplays, novel proposals and manuscripts, recorded and produced records, films and acted in a wide variety of Hollywood movies and television shows, spoken on panels across the continent on the topic of technology and its intersection with the arts and contemporary culture, run a record label, been a life-coach and an acting teacher, but not until now have I ever written about food.

I am a Taurus, and if you subscribe at all to the idea of astrology then you may know that Taureans are the earth sign that rules the sensual realm – all the five sense are the Taurean domain.  Often we are thought of as materialistic – but that is an overly simplistic view.  I am a true Taurus in that I take enormous pleasure in the things of this earth; the sights, smells, sounds, the feel of things and their smells.  One of my favorite book is Patrick Suskind’s Perfume wherein a near blind child experience the world primarily through smell.  My favorite films include Babette’s Feast, The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover, Chocolat, Like Water For Chocolate and so on.

When I was 12 years old, I was cast in a small educational show for children wherein I played Zardip – a robot from another planet sent to Earth to understand why humans do not break down like robots did on his home planet.  The show centered around nutrition, exercise and good practices for health and it ingrained in me, certain principles that I hold dear twenty-two years later.

I have been a vegan, an omnivore, a vegetarian, I have done the Master’s Cleanse, and practiced George Ohsawa’s principles of Macrobiotics.

I was born to a Polish father who was born in London, and an Ecuadorian mother who emigrated to Canada.  I have traveled the world and tried an enormous variety of flavors and cultures.

Every Christmas I beg my father for the handwritten recipes left behind by my grandparents and he promises to translate them soon so that one day I can compile it all into our family’s vast compendium of traditional recipes – some that I know can not be repeated.

I have seen a simple dinner transform the moods of those around me from dreariness and despair to elation and love and happiness.  I have seen a simple change in diet save a life, a relationship, an attitude.  I have seen my own life change by such adjustments.

Sill Life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge" - Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Sill Life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge" – Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610)

I was inspired by Caravaggio’s paintings of food which celebrated the beauty and the decay of things and recognized that life exists not in spite of but because of the dichotomy.

The most amazing thing about the bounty we have on this planet is that it is already so perfect, that often, the more you get out of its way, the more incredible it reveals itself to be.  But I have also followed the work of some of the most elaborate and ambitious chefs and have been amazed by their audacity and imagination.

Throughout my life I have followed a wide swath of esoterica – to stay on the point – I read a lot about the alchemists and their tireless attempts to transmute lead into gold.  Only later did I recognize that in actuality they were symbolically transmuting the mundane (the earthly terrestrial matter and existence) to the sublime.

Cooking is like that for me; one takes high quality elements and transmutes them into a new form.  The poet Rumi elucidates how the bath is a channel between fire and the skin and how bread is the channel between the earth an the body.  I see it that way also.

The English author William Ralph Inge stated: “The whole of nature is a conjugation of the verb to eat, in the active and the passive.”

I also have an obsession with things that are now called “heirloom” and “vintage” because I find them rare and from a time that it is not only important to understand but increasingly alien, and yet it exists in the world.  So I will often harken back to vintage and antique recipe books out of pure fascination for what can be discovered therein.

When we use the word taste in our title, we mean both the sensual aspect of flavor, and also the term as a means of distinction from that which is of low quality and that which is transcendent and an examination of where the line between the two exists.  I believe that the divine can often be found in surprising places so we should keep our snobbery in check and look everywhere for signs of its existence.

This blog is a record of my adventures through this thing we call life and its boundless variety of possibilities.  To explore the culinary world is to engage life itself.  I ask you to go on the adventure with me with the hope that the indulgence leads us to somewhere even more incredible than where we have been, and that the journey will leave us in a better place than where we began.

Welcome to your Taste Odyssey.

I encourage your comments and participation in making this a solace for healthy delicious explorations of food and culture in this increasingly complex society that we all share so closely.

One response so far

One Response to “The Quest”

  1. Aphroditeon 29 Sep 2009 at 1:54 pm

    It will be a blast exploring the culinary world with you! Looking forward to the journey…