Sunday, April 10, 2011

the last bite

 Green onions before their buzz cut.

Tri-colored carrots (Some are disguised as beets.)

Pound cakes cooling.

Magnificently, perfectly shelled pecans, if this author does say so herself.

One of these sneaky seeds will surely end up in my teeth, but with freshly whipped organic cream ... who cares?

Cabbage patch.

Hello, Southern Scratch readers. I have the privilege to be your guest blogger today. My name is Sarah, and I am a dietetic intern. I had the pleasure of spending a week with Kathryn in Tignall, getting a feel for what it takes to start a small business. It was a wonderful, hands-on experience! Keep reading for a taste of what I learned....


There are several ways a person can take the last bite of food. There is one way in which one tries to make the cherished morsel last as long as possible, shaving away micro-bites with a spoon or fork. This manner seems a slow tortuous denial, where someone eats crumbs for so long that they are the same as someone who has actually eaten nothing. Then there is the way in which one simply enjoys the last bit of food, swallowing away the fear and uncertainty of not knowing when or if there will be another portion.

When Kathryn answers a question, she starts a story—stories that revolve around food, books, her husband, Southern Scratch (SS), or maybe a tale from her childhood.  It’s more like a parable than a direct response. It’s perfectly appropriate when she regales you with a story, because in her reply, she unfolds the current dilemma surrounding food. She talks in sorrow about how we are distanced from our food while we unwrap unsalted butter from Southern Swiss dairies in Waynesboro, Georgia, how broken our current food system is while we crack eggs laid by hens about five minutes away, and how downright delicious local, sustainable, organic food can really be while pound cake batter is evenly distributed into two country blue baking dishes.  We discuss food philosophies while sifting organic wheat flour milled down the road and brainstorm about ways to impact patients at the hospital and folks in the community to prevent them from becoming the former. The stories we tell and the conversation we have expose the complexity of the issue one layer at a time like the organic scallions I am slicing.

There’s intimacy in the close quarters of the kitchen, where we wash carrots, zest lemons, and plunge our hands into dough, all while talking, sharing, and laughing. It's an intimacy with the food we are preparing and in relating and connecting as women. The communal aspect of food is so often overlooked, but we pause in the kitchen to sit around a vase of daffodils, commune, and eat. 

As we enjoy our meal, Kathryn talks about her customers. She recalls a number of details about them, their demeanors, their routine, their food preferences, and their faces. She is intimate and personal with the food she prepares, just as she is intimate and personal with the people for whom she prepares it. As our lunch comes to a close, I watch Kathryn brandish her spoon, gathering the last of the vittles, grandly enjoying the taste and texture of spicy sausage with apples and grains. 

As we push away from the table, I think about the last bite with a simple understanding. There is no sorrow in the end of a memorable meal when-- just down the road-- hens are laying eggs, wheat is being milled, and vegetables are growing.

1 comment:

  1. Every time I read a post from this blog, I get hungry!