I just watched a movie, The Cave of the Yellow Dog, about a nomad family somewhere in Mongolia. Incredible scenery. No trees, just grasslands that seemed to go on forever along with hills and rocky crags and a serpentine river. The family had a herd of sheep and goats, horses, and what I think were oxen. It was a real family being filmed living their life. There was a half-hearted attempt at a plot, but really, it was a documentary of living in a yurt out in the middle of nowhere. The mother worked very hard, milking, making cheese, preparing food, and smoking meat for later; piles of dung were collected for the fires to make the smoke.
These people were directly connected to their food, raising the animals, milking, cheese making, and though I’m not sure what they were eating, I did not see any vegetables. Going to the nearest town to get supplies they couldn’t produce themselves in their herding existence was an overnight trip and happened seldom. My own relationship to what I eat couldn’t be more different. I work very hard too in order to fill my fridge, but the work I do is not connected to my food in any way. My pay is deposited directly into my account and I go to the market, load up my cart from a vast array of choices, and pay for it all with a swipe of my ATM card.
I thought of this while I put together a burrito, the tortilla piled with at least five or six delicious ingredients and then rolled up, barely able to contain all that wonderfulness. A simple supper but one of extraordinary complexity compared to the nomads’ fare, and I had no direct connection to any of those ingredients. Any connection had to happen through mindfulness while preparing and eating the food and through appreciation and gratitude.