What really struck me about the novel, though, was this short passage:
"The lines we draw that make us who we are are potent by virtue of being non-negotiable, and even, at some level, indefensible. Sally will not wear synthetics. That's who she is. Billy won't touch eggs. That's Billy for you. To apologize for your personal absolutes, for what Sandy Pinter calls your "Core Attachments," means apologizing for your very existence" (Kirn 39).
While picky eaters drive me nuts, they are perhaps those in the food world that have the most "Core Attachments." Sometimes I have trouble understanding them. My "What do you mean you don't like kale? You just haven't had GOOD kale. Let me cook you some." approach has failed to work on Kent. I have lost the kale wars.
So, while it unnerves me to no end that he won't eat a vegetable I love, I do like the idea of having strong and potent virtues regarding what you eat and what you will not eat. Even though these "Core Attachments" are indefensible, they are still to be respected. No matter what I do to prepare kale, he will not like it. No matter how closely the kale tastes to brussel sprouts (which, by the way, he loves), he will not like it. Kent is attached to hating kale. It's taken a long time, but I respect that.
When you start learning a lot about your food, like how it was raised/grown, where it came from, what conditions the laborers work under, what damage it does to the environment and to your body, the list of "Core Attachments," the list of things you absolutely will not eat can grow rather quickly. For instance, my friend AMR, won't eat fast food anymore. After I saw this video clip on battery caged produced eggs, I resolved that I would never buy another factory-farmed egg. Shortly after, I got the Girls, and now I have all the fresh, safe, and humanely-produced eggs I can use.
Sometimes, I have simpler core attachments that manage to infiltrate my life almost without my noticing. For example, I realized that I have not bought a can of soup in 3 years. I LOVE soup, and this amorous desire is based on the fact that I enjoy making homemade soups and stocks from scratch. I can't go back to store-bought canned soup because for minimum effort, I can achieve a cheaper and higher quality soup than I can buy off the supermarket shelves. There's only one drawback: homemade soup does take some time. Not a lot, but none the less it takes more time than opening a can, except when you make miso soup.
This has been the first full week back in school, and I've been spending 12 hours or longer on campus at a stretch--which is great for productivity, but hell on home cooking. So, this afternoon, I needed something warm, quick, and healthy to cook. And, in a matter of minutes, I whipped up this soup.
Better than Canned Miso Soup
2 cups water
1 oz buckwheat soba noodles (they come with three bundles to a package, you'll want to use a scant half a bundle)
2 mushrooms, sliced (I used one cremini and one white button).
2 handfuls fresh spinach
2 t. red miso paste
1 green onion, sliced
Bring water to boil. Add noodles and mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes, or until noodles are soft. Add spinach and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from heat. Stir in miso until dissolved. Ladle into bowl and sprinkle with green onion.
Works CitedKirn, Walter. Up in the Air. New York: Random House, 2001.