T he slightly gritty feel of the paring knife cutting through the skin of a perfectly ripe avocado … the oily-smooth resistance while twisting the halves apart … two buttery-green surfaces revealed … a drizzle of peppery extra-virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of fleur de sel, and you have a great-but-simple moment to celebrate. It comes thanks to the avocado grower, the bladesmith, the olive oil maker, the people who rake up fleur de sel each morning by the salty sea.
In a world out of whack, it matters all the more to notice the simple beautiful things that splash into our consciousness, as on July 15, when bright Venus nestled up against the crescent moon in the western sky right after sunset.
Of course, simple beauty sometimes comes about through careful thought, study, care, and craft, all of which certainly went into the dish depicted here, a Lamb Adobo Empanada with corn, peppercress, and pickles created by Chef Francis Ang of Pinoy Heritage (a San Francisco–based pop-up company) for the San Francisco Lamb Jam on July 22. As a judge, I felt honored to choose it as the winning Lamb Jam dish, but before biting into that little meat-filled crescent pastry, it was hard to believe something so simple would taste as sublime as it did. The assemblage on a black plate brought to mind the moon embracing Venus … and the simplicity of it evoked the joy of cutting open a perfect avocado.
There are days when the dark, twisted complexities caused by people high up making destructive decisions seem too much to bear, but good food, good friends, the moon and stars, and so much else that we treasure save us again and again at welcome moments each day.
It helps, too, to look for ways to effect change in the things that don’t work, both out in the world and close to home.
Each season at Edible East Bay as we assemble the new issue, we try to include a hefty helping of stories about people in our food community who are working to make things better, more just, more fertile and abundant, more beautiful, or maybe simply more tasty. In this issue, we bring you a highly creative self-taught baker, a generous tomato farmer, a family pushing the northern frontier of avocado farming, brewers collaborating with fruit growers, and an energized group of changemakers out to improve our food system.
And now our work is ready to enjoy. We hope it plays a role in waking us up to watch as beauty splashes down all around. ´
Cheryl Angelina Koehler