The Rewards of Playing with Food

Reader Contribution by Blythe Pelham
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One of my favorite ways to play with food is during the harvest process—creating what some folks call food porn. After the work of picking, digging, and cutting the fruits (and veggies) of my many hours of springtime labor, I enjoy the reward of creating artistic visual images.

There are a couple of benefits to this reward. One perk is that I get to let my artistic eye run wild with the challenge of varying colors, shapes, and sizes while I create each morning’s still life (before storing or otherwise processing the food). Another benefit is that I have a catalog of photographs to reference when curiosity or impatience niggles about harvest times and quantities of years past.

My default is to arrange our bounty in baskets, bowls, or in different areas of the garden around the house. I love to discover new ways of playing, sometimes finding that my supervisors (aka cats) enjoy the challenge as well. I recently discovered others playing with their food on Instagram—some with quite a bit of humor—which I’m guessing will seep into my subconscious and sneak into future photos.

I was thrilled to see that without knowing it I cut my first cabbage this year on the same date as I did last year. My mind likes noting fun coincidences, especially involving dates and numbers. That discovery sent me down the rabbit hole in my photos and I ended up noticing several other coincidences. It’s nice to know that some things are consistent even when the world seems chaotic.

The other main avenue of my play with food is in the kitchen. I’ve shared plenty of photos and recipes in past blog posts. I think most who know me understand my compulsion to play in the kitchen is as strong as my need to play with clay, to paint, to draw, and to garden. I can’t swear to it, but I like to believe that the positive and playful energies I employ help the food maintain its healthfulness. I certainly believe that those energies help my garden maintain its abundance.

A favorite playtime activity this year is roasting my freshly picked vegetables in the oven (375 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour or so). The photo above shows a recent dinner. It includes potatoes, zucchini, yellow crookneck, tomatoes, cabbage, kale, beans, garlic cloves, basil, and oregano. Every bit of it came from our garden (except for the olive oil coating the veggies).

If you don’t otherwise document your garden, I highly suggest using photographs. They’re a quick and easy way to keep track of your work and rewards, and the digital varieties are date stamped. If you are so inclined, I definitely urge you to play with your food. It can be very gratifying!

Photos by Blythe Pelham

Blythe Pelham is an artist that aims to enable others to find their grounding through energy work. She is in the midst of writing a cookbook and will occasionally share bits in her blogging here. She writes, gardens and cooks in Ohio. Find her online at Humings and Being Blythe, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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