I learned a long time ago with you that folks who were trying to be kind would rather do it with a macaroni-and-cheese bake than any personal involvement. You hand off a serving dish and you’ve done your job – no need to get personally involved, and your conscience is clean. Food is the currency of aid.

If you go to Singapore or Amsterdam or Seoul or Buenos Aires or Islamabad or Johannesburg or Tampa or Istanbul or Kyoto, you’ll find that the people differ wildly in the way they dress, in their marriage customs, in the holidays they observe, in their religious rituals, and so on, but they all expect the food to be under lock and key. It’s all owned, and if you want some, you’ll have to buy it.

Food matters because it’s one of the things that forces us to live in this world — this tactile, physical, messy, and beautiful world — no matter how hard we try to escape into our minds and our ideals. Food is a reminder of our humanity, our fragility, our createdness.

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