What is it about the business of preparing and eating food, that makes it such a hot topic these days? Food porn abounds, from the vicarious pleasures of reading about Jules and Julia, to poring over meticulously arranged images of never to be achieved perfection on your favourite foodie blog or mag. The attraction is undeniable.
We all have to eat, that’s true. But these pages of vegetable du jour, or the sweetly disheveled ingénue with her cupcake, speak to a different hunger. It’s both aspirational and nostalgic. It’s the hunger for what never quite was, for the country of our childhood, for the elusive taste of security. For comfort. For home. We try to recreate it in every roast chicken, garnished with our own organic windowsill herbs. We browse for it at the local market, where the shape of the bread spells wholesomeness.
Of course the point of it all, and the machine that drives the industry, is that like Daisy’s light, it is always receding, always just out of reach. The future and the past cast a ring of shadow around the present. That’s not to say that sometimes – when the wind blows just right – you won’t take a bite of oven-fresh bread, and close your eyes, and swear that you can feel the heat from the old yellow Aga, right here on your face again.