Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hands on

The Taste section is a weekly feature of our newspaper and appears Thursdays.

You never know what it will cover except that it has food in it. 

This makes Taste somewhat like a covered dish at a potluck, which we Midwesterners love

You have to open it to discover it and it's usually a surprise and something fun to try.

The Taste section last week profiled a batch of tastemakers as the newspaper calls them. They're cooks, restauranteurs, growers, brewers and more. 

They're folks with a passion for what they do. They were singled out in the May 24 issue for their influence on the local food scene. 

I scanned the different stories with interest. You want to get to know the good people who champion quality in the food you buy and restaurants you go to. 

Features like this, which introduce a segment of the community otherwise missed, are a large part of what keeps me buying the paper.
The back page of  the food section was a full gallery of pictures connected with the front story. This end page made such an impression on me. 

It was an arrangement of fifty pictures. Each picture shows a tastemaker at work. The text wisely notes that hands are nearly as important a tool to a cook as their imaginations. The photos back up this remark. 

The tastemakers, smiling or in genial poses on the front page, are on the back page a composite of hands.

The results are breathtakingly beautiful in an artisan sort of way. There are floury hands that remind me of so many hands, mostly of generations past, as they once kneaded the bread that sustained their families.

There are hands cradling what appear to be blueberries. There are hands held in a friendship clasp. In another picture wild mushrooms lie heaped like a prize in the palms of the hands.

Grain spills into cupped hands. In another picture a cupcake is raised as if in celebration. Rightly so. Confetti-topped and decorative it's a visual trumpet to call a party.

One of the tastemakers holds a slab of meat. Another shows off bars which reminds me that I forgot to check if a recipe is included elsewhere.

The paper was put down amid deep thought. The hands of the tastemakers had touched me. 

The pictures made me see hands as the expression of all our giving. Hands are at work every day giving service, doling out comfort, teaching our young, administering our laws, protecting our citizenry.

Our active hands maintain our homes, tend our babies, raise our children, operate businesses, run lawnmowers, paint houses and portraits, lay carpet, fix plumbing, make meals, deliver packages, plant gardens, build houses and innovate new technology.

These marvelous hands fly us to our resort destinations or to a loved one's funeral. They unload our luggage onto the carrousel. They steer the buses or drive the taxis. They point us in the direction to go when we're lost. And this is only a start.

Hands are at work every day in every minute around the globe. They're floury. They're dirty with grime or soil. They're washed and dried countless times through the day.

They're soft. They're tough. They're manicured and massaged with cream. They're untended and chapped and they work all the same. Sometimes they ache from overexertion or the throb of arthritis or stiffen with age and use.

And we look at them with almost the same wonder as goes with removing the lid on the covered hot dish. They're that quiet about themselves as they carry out what we set for them to do.

Last week's photo essay keeps me thinking about hands. It brings to me the loving ways our hands shape the days for someone else, or make our part of the world a better place, or fashion beauty out of what someone else perceives is ordinary clay.

Faces are believed to be the expression of who we are. There's truth in that. Much more so, perhaps, hands accurately reveal us.

Look in the mirror and you get back a reflected image. On the other hand, hands in action reflect reality.

As learned from a picture of fingers whitened by flour, working hands might be the best honest look at who we are and what is in us to do.

Ro  Giencke - May 30, 2012

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.