Not mayday, meaning a crisis.
Food and the feeding of people. The need for clean water is a crisis, a call for “mayday”.
May Day, or May 1 — as celebrated in many countries is a traditional springtime festival or an international day honoring workers.
Everything. Everything, we put in our mouths is planted, fished, bottled, butchered, grown, picked, placed, packaged, shipped, delivered, sautéed, steamed, flash frozen, baked, cooked, tossed, and wrapped by many, many hands, globally.
May day, a day to thank, honor and be grateful for the people who feed us, who plant, tend, grow, pick, package, ship and bring us our food.
The words mayday & May Day are not actually related, mayday is the french for m’aidez for “help me” and May Day comes from an ancient pagan holiday, Beltaine to celebrate the beginning of Summer, maypoles and flower crowns and all that. The day, later shared with International Worker’s Day starting in the 1880s. But goodness if those words don’t seem to relate.
This week on May Day, I went to The Wiltern Theater for The Power of Food, an Evening with Chef José Andrés and Friends, guests Zooey Deschanel, Ron Finley, Susan Feniger, Nyesha Arrington, and Tim Kilcoyne. Sponsored by LA Kitchen, The LA Times and Roland Food to celebrate the opening of the LA Times Food Bowl. And I foodgeeked out seeing the legendary LA Times Food Critic, Jonathan Gold.
To be in the presence of those who say, This. This is what we do, we show up in times of utter need to help people feed themselves, and their families was humbling.
You may know Chef José Andrés. You should anyway. I’ve dined and planned many corporate executive dinners at his exquisite 5-star restaurants. They are amazing, but his heart, his passion and his “let’s get to it” is why you should know him.
Last Fall, Chef took it upon himself to say:
People are in crisis, people called out “mayday” and so…
When the hurricane hit in Puerto Rico, he went, he mobilized, he fed people. Millions of meals. #chefsforpuertorico
Puerto Rico was just one of the places that Chef helped during disaster. With Chef, the World Central Kitchen and L.A. Kitchen teamed up with him to feed victims of the California wildfires. The World Central Kitchen that was launched after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, also went to Houston last year to feed victims of Hurricane Harvey.
On April 25, Andrés’ was recognized at the City Harvest gala for his work with World Central Kitchen and #ChefsforPuertoRico. He was also named Humanitarian of the Year by the James Beard Foundation.
The evening was also the kick off the LA Food Bowl, a month-long event in Los Angeles to help raise awareness and funds to fight food waste, hunger, and food insecurity and to promote sustainability. It is an exploration of offerings from L.A.’s top bars, cafes, hotels, markets, and restaurants and the world’s best chefs at over 200 extraordinary events.
The thing that struck me about Chef was his comment, “don’t just clap like seals, take action.” There are people starving in crisis all over the world, but it is what we all do every day to make change in every aspect of our lives.
I love his quote on his Twitter page — “We all are Citizens of the World. What’s good for you, must be good for all. If you are lost, share a plate of food with a stranger…you will find who you are.”
And Chef’s TEDTalk on Puerto Rico is one to check out — How a Team of Chefs fed Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
Food for thought. All puns intended.
When we eat together, we connect.
When we garden together, we create freedom (borrowed from the prolific and passionate, Ron Finley, the Gansta Gardner)
We cook for each other; we give a gift.
When we don’t waste food, we give someone else the chance to be fed.
When we gather together and break bread, anything can happen.
Food has always equaled love in my life.
Food is living.
Food keeps us alive.
Food connects us.
Food makes us steal.
Food is big business.
Food is a trillion dollar industry.
Food builds community.
Food helps us with our grief.
Food is a celebration.
Food is our universal connective tissue.
Food changes laws.
Food is hope.
Every time we go out to eat
We open our refrigerators
We bite into anything.
We throw out the food that we let rot.
It is May day.
Grateful and thankful for the power of food in my life.