Flowers for Orlando

Food: Our Human Connection

In the wake of this week’s mass shooting in Orlando, FL, I struggle to decide what to write. Do I write about banana muffins and focus on the perfectly happy, bright, and sunny world of food that we food bloggers tend to gravitate toward during this time when I, and many others, feel far from happy?

I feel sad, y’all. Not just sad, I feel heartbroken that as a society we have to have this conversation again. We have to explain to our children that this has happened again. We have to reassure them that this won’t happen to us, even if we’re not sure we believe it.

In the past I would have stuffed these sad and fearful feelings and remained stoically silent, but I choose not to live like that now. So I have to speak up and share my truth.

I can’t understand what could ever motivate someone to carry out such heinous acts. What turmoil could create the kind of hate within a person to make them feel the only answer is to take the lives of other humans.  At a time in my life when I feel more accepting, not only of others but also of myself, than ever before I am simply at a complete loss for explanation.

I am heartbroken that such a divergence from our collective spirit exists in our society, in our world. This is why, I’ve reasoned, that I struggle to write about food this week.

In my mind food is the thing that connects us all, physically and emotionally and spiritually; even more so than music. It may be true that music lives within our souls, but it isn’t a requirement to continue existing. Everyone must eat and we all gather over food; over cooking it, and eating it, and preserving the history of it, and growing it. Whether or not you immerse yourself into any step of the creation process you most certainly consume it.

Guys, for me food is love, food is life, food is our human bond. I mean, think about it. We are the only species which cultivates, prepares, and uses fire to cook our source of nourishment. This is our human experience. It connects us all.

Maybe my perspective is child-like or basic, but it’s because I feel that we are all so deeply connected that I simply cannot fathom the complete rift that occurs between an individual and the entire human collective that would drive him or her to do something like this….

And maybe I have to accept that I will never understand.

My heart and spirit are reeling for those lives that were lost early Sunday morning, their families and friends, and the entire LGBT community who are all part of our human community.

Tonight, I ask that you cook for the people you love and convene with them over even the simplest meal. Nourish their souls and yours through food. Hug them every day and show them they are loved. Remember, we are all in this together.

XO

Haley

Baked Pesto Chicken
Baked Pesto Chicken

Simple Pesto Baked Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pesto (store bought or homemade)
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place chicken breast in a 9×13 casserole dish. Season all sides evenly with salt and pepper.
  3. Using the back of a spoon or pastry brush coat bottom side of chicken breasts with 1/4 cup of the pesto.
  4. Turn chicken over and coat top side of chicken breasts with remaining pesto.
  5. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165. Remove foil and bake, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes. Serve chicken with pesto pasta or white rice.

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