On a Beach Walk: #62 (Food)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Looking across the water is a reminder that life lives below surface. A large variety of fish, shrimp, clams, oysters, scallops, and more. Of course the listed ones are commonly available food for us to eat. So I wonder, “What’s for dinner?”

Is an ongoing question for you? We ask it, but also laugh about this seemingly eternal question. Although our time at the beach is away from the normal routine of home, “What’s for dinner?” ever looms in our midst. So, why not, I’ll think about food today.

All of us have a variety of likes and dislikes. Some of us are risk takers when it comes to trying different foods, others have a limited menu of preferences. So food: What is it? Why do we need it? When it comes to food, what do living things have in common with each other?

Food – that basic need for all life forms. All the organisms of the sea and the beach need food for the same reasons as people – for nourishment – for the nutrients that either provide energy, act as a building block, or assists in a process. Yes – that’s what carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals are all about.

Food – think of all the cookbooks available – let alone online resources of recipes – all forming a collective of bountiful offerings of culinary delights. Yet, most people limit themselves to a rotation of less than 20 recipes.

Food – Think of the times of our settlers when most ingredients were grown in their own gardens or by other locals. The farmer’s markets of today carry on the tradition of locally grown products, which also seems to carry a greater importance outside North America.

I think of today’s large grocery stores – endless aisles of canned and packaged products that are complete with preservatives, fat, sodium , sugar, and more. Therefore, much of today’s cooking is an act of combining various boxes and cans into a final product.

On the other hand, the food industry today provides fresh fruits and vegetables from throughout the world – a luxury less available during my youth – oranges from South Africa – grapes from Chile – after all, bananas are not grown everywhere.

I think of a time when families ate an evening meal together – and even a more grand meal on Sunday afternoon – whereas today our lives are more on-the-run causing us to yield our food preferences to frozen and packaged products or a wide variety of fast-food establishments.

Today’s life offers many restaurants of a variety of styles and prices without a messy kitchen – well, at least not ours. I find it interesting how cuisines differ not only from country to country, but also from region to region within a country. The fried plate of everything and anything is more common in the US South and the US North. The dishes of northern Italy are different from those of the south.

I think of the abundance of natural food in nature – the corn with its husk but without a label because corn is corn. Let us not forget that corn is a plant – a living thing that also needs food just like we do and for the same reasons. Green plants make their own food by photosynthesis because they can’t catch it or kill it. Animals hunt for food because (and unlike the green plants) they can’t make their own. Whether an organism catches food or makes its own, food’s end result is the same.

Light from the sun is the initial energy source driving photosynthesis, but there are also organisms living in the darkness of the deep sea that can make their own food without the presence of light – but they use the sulfur gases venting into the water from Earth’s core as the energy driving their food production process. Nature’s design is so grand.

It seems food is more complex than many realize, but thinking about food makes me hungry. Besides, it’s lunchtime.  But for now , I continue moving toward the condo because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

62 thoughts on “On a Beach Walk: #62 (Food)

    • Rachel,
      Thank you. I think the teacher side of me came out in this post. As for dinner, with today being Monday, it probably will be out for pizza for my wife and spaghetti for me – a typical Monday fare for us in between a ballroom dance lesson and handbell choir rehearsal. But the question will return tomorrow.

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  1. There are all sorts of mysteries surrounding our modern food culture. For instance, have you ever stopped and thought about just how much chicken it takes to fill the needs of one state or one country? And then you extrapolate that over a larger set of population and it begins to seem insurmountable. Where are all those chickens being raised. I mean literally, it must be millions and billions of chickens.

    And then there is the need for all those pigs to feed our bacon addiction.

    And everything else.

    It boggles my mind to consider how we meet our food needs.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such a big subject, food and you’ve written a great post, Frank. Indeed food is elementary for our existence, taste, nutrition etc but from that point to becoming a planet that is occupied with new recipes and ‘exotic’ tastes most of the time, well, that’s becoming a perversion imho. I look at food as something pleasing and originating as much as possible with respect to other beings. Something that comes from the pain of another being will hardly ever please me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Food is rarely thought of in such exquisite detail any longer, Frank. Nowadays, it exists within the purview of contests and online influencers and getaway grub. The only peeps who seem to minister to the dynamic of food as a life form are the sustainable crowd and (some) chefs). Food really has become much too transient anymore. Look no further than Grub Hub and Door Dash, which is a combination of food you shouldn’t be eating and exercise you’re no longer getting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I picked up on the teacher thing right away! Paragraph by paragraph I (the class) was thinking – OK, OK, RIGHT, CHECK, YEAH, GOT IT, SORT OF INTERESTING, NOT GETTING AS BORED TODAY, MIGHT EVEN LIKE DOING THE READING ASSIGNMENT? HEY – CLASS IS OVER . . PACK UP – Lunch time!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your posts stimulate my thoughts, Frank.

    Caloric density is the amount of calories a food contains per gram. Meat, something rather rare in many third-world diets, has a density about 6 times that of vegetables. When I was a kid visiting the family farm in the 1940’s, having chicken on Sundays was a treat for the family.

    Acquiring meat and learning farming, I submit, were key to human evolution and large brains, hence the rise of the concept of property.

    Surprisingly to me when I looked it up, bread has about the same caloric density as steak and black beans are 30% denser than steak! Salmon is only half as calorie-dense as steak. Butter, not found in nature, is almost three times as dense as steak.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I was actually thinking about food too, Frank, in relations to a horse. Here is this magnificent creature and all it eats is grass, grains and hay. I find that fascinating!

    How fortunate you are to have a beach to walk upon. *sigh* I wish!!

    And of course you would have food on your mind. You’re a guy. What guy doesn’t think about food?

    Loved the link! Thank you!! xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Amy,
      Thanks for walking along. Unfortunately, Cincinnati doesn’t have a beach – however – we like going to the Alabama coast as snowbirds, and that’s where these walks are drafted.

      Great point about the horse. Now about guys – come on now, we are more rounded than food … after all, sex and sports also make the short list.

      Liked by 2 people

      • LOL OK, I’ll give it to you, Frank. How could I have overlooked sex with you guys? I’m gonna tell you something hysterical I heard in a movie I watched recently. A man about in his 50’s was talking to three other guys his age. He was reminiscing about the good old days when his “staff” stood at attention and could hold up a cow. Now however, all his “staff” could hold up was his socks. I laughed until I cried!! Just sharing so you can laugh too ….. LOL The movie is called “Last Flag Flying”.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. A fun post, Frank. I think about food all the time, as I started cooking when I was a child and always (mostly) enjoyed it.
    My younger daughter used to play that Joe Jackson song a lot when she was in high school, and I have to say banana pancakes are pretty great. I may have to make some soon. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Looking across the water is a reminder that life lives below surface. I really like that Frank reminding me that many things are rarely what they seem.
    As far as food goes, I eat like the Amish, with the exception of my daily silo of popcorn. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. A great deal of my time goest into feeding my family. I still have a large role in family meals, and because I lament the way the typical American diet is stripped of all but the barest excuse for nutrition, I have to go to great lengths to cook for optimum nourishment. It’s a preoccupation with me, but there is no current comparison between the current nutritional value of most foods and what I was raised on. Of course I’m old! LOL! I go to the beach for a walk, however, to at least feel young. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,
      Oh my … seems like the portion about human conception hit home for you … so thanks for your points supporting my points. Then again, it’s probably only something that we old-timers understand. :After all, we are putting history to work. 🙂

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    • Jo,
      Absolutely on all your points. I intentionally took a broad view of food on this walk – that is, looking at food across living things. The biology teacher in me came out! Thanks for strolling along.

      Like

  10. Wow I love this. Food is always a pleasing topic to read about. I once read a book called Much Depends on Dinner, and really it does. Empires were built over dinners, apparently. Homes flourished and families connected. Food is such an important part of so many cultures, and I mean a VERY important part. Sharing a meal is sharing a connection. Some cultures take great offence if a meal is refused. Benjamin Franklin once said ‘eat to live, not live to eat’ – I am sure Franklin didn’t coin that phrase but he sure did publish it in an almanac, and while that may be true I think both sentiments are very much intertwined. It’s sad that today’s fast-paced culture doesn’t allow most families to sit together for an evening meal as they used to.

    Liked by 1 person

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