Yummy in the tummy all the live long day
Out of all aspects of life, I truly believe food is central to the growth and maintenance of our relationships with one another. How many times have you heard yourself or others ask each other out for coffee, or lunch? How many times a year do you hear of food banks needing help to feed the less fortunate? How many get-togethers with family and friends have you been to that didn’t have food as the star of the show? And when it’s time to celebrate? Whether it’s whipping out a bottle of bubbly, gathering around a birthday cake, or snuggling on the couch with some good old fashioned comfort food, for many of us food surrounds our happiest moments and nourishes us in our lowest of lows. Depending on one’s class position, food posits itself as merely the means of survival and nothing more, whereas others bask in the experiences that come with enjoying food. No matter what area of the spectrum you exist in, food brings us together.
I love food. Not just eating it, but learning about how to cook it (my mother kicks me out of the kitchen, but I like to watch!), learning about its origins and its cultural significances, and of course, photographing it! Food has played a central role in my life since birth, believe it or not. My parents say they’re kidding whenever they bring this up, but part of my Chinese name is a word present in the Chinese phrase for “likes to eat”, at least when you say it verbally. I choose to stick by that 😀 Throughout my entire university experience, food was what kept my spirits up. Lunch was truly the highlight of my day, especially during back-breaking moments of exam studying, paper-writing exhaustion. I would wake up in the morning and think to myself, “hmm, what should I have for lunch today?” and that would make me happy. I kid you not. My friends and family make fun of me for my eating habits. Although I’d like to think I can pack away a good-sized meal, I think of myself as a “mouse” type of eater. On most days, I literally eat every 2 or 3 hours and that’s due to the fact that 1) the poor body gets hungry real fast. Yay metabolism and 2) I like splitting up my meals. Which has fueled many a joke and incredulous questions my way: “Every time I see you, you’re eating!” or “You’re hungry again?? And when I was little? I’d take home all of my grandmother’s Homemakers magazines that would get delivered to her apartment so I could pore over the Recipes section and drool over all the magnificent photos. Luckily for me, the pages didn’t stick together.
There is something truly heart-warming and opening about sharing a meal with friends and/or family. I love the feeling of enjoying a particular restaurant’s ambience, the unique, kitschy decor of a cute cafe, having good conversation with friends over food (so much so that I am the last one to finish my meal, oops), or finding that hole-in-the-wall gem that has food so good it seeps into your subconsciousness at night. I may not agree with Toronto’s politics, but I do love this city very much and exploring all the different foodie districts and enclaves is exciting and inspirational. It’s exciting to stumble upon a new cupcake bakery, or a vegetarian eatery, or a sushi bar with new maki combinations I’ve never tried. It’s a learning experience every day (heck, I just had brussel sprouts for the first time in my life the other day!) and you learn to appreciate where the food comes from, how it’s been cultivated and cooked, and the people who feed you. Every cuisine has something amazing to offer and it is a joy exploring all the foodscapes I possibly can and photographing its presentation at the same time. It’s a beautiful thing.
With that in mind, I hope you all enjoy this labour of love of mine.