Bees.

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This little dude buzzed about so busily in the hot summer sun, she barely noticed me shooting lots of smart-phone pics almost right next to her pollen-dusty wings and furry back (I don’t have any of those nifty little iPhone camera lenses). I just love bees! Apart from the obvious fact that they’re a quintessential part of just about every terrestrial food chain on earth, they’re also cute. Well, I think so, anyway.

Their work ethic is remarkable; watching a bee do its work is a sure way to spring the guilt trip on a procrastinating brain. 🙂 They usually don’t sting people unless they’re defending themselves or their hives (I mean, they get one sting), they pollinate flowers that give us fruit and veggies, they make honey, and buzz about quite politely in gardens and parks (none of this invasive exploration of picnic food that wasps seem much more fond of)…

This growing bee die-off (colony collapse) trend is quite scary to me. Yep, I’m grateful for bees.

Fries. Late at night.

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I try to eat healthily but there’s just something primally satisfying about carbs fried in carbs when one has come from a mingling event and needs comfort food (have I mentioned that I have a special dislike for networking events?). I suppose the equivalent for cool people would be after-party or after-club pigging out, or “the munchies” (in this case, very chilled people). I have no idea. I have never been cool. *cheerful grin*

Anyway, I’m grateful for a portion of good, solid, well-fried fries.

Abundance.

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I’m grateful for abundance. I’m grateful that I can go to a market and buy the most beautiful, delicious fruits and vegetables that grew in the warmth of the sun, the showers of rain, the shelter of soil and trees, and the care of farmers, growers, agriculturists, and even home gardeners.

I’m grateful that I was born and live in parts of the world where abundance is so taken for granted that we are blissfully unaware of the long, risky and possibly even perilous journey each component of each item of food on our tables has endured.

Many of us don’t need to think about the connection between rainfall, seasons, temperature, bees, disasters… and the bread we spread Nutella on and eat on the run; the coffee beans that keep us awake and the tea leaves that keep us sane; the leg of duck or ribs of lamb or beef patty that we decide we will cook tonight.

It frightens me, sometimes, that we would probably have very little warning when things begin to go very wrong; but I am grateful for every day that I am insulated from hunger, that I can feed myself with good, healthy food, and that Nature continues to seem indulgent and kind.

Quiches, house-made.

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I’m grateful for quiches. When you’re in a foreign country, alone, and sick as a dog, it’s an easy ongoing source of food! I know, it sounds pathetic, but anyone who’s been abroad– for work or leisure or longer periods of time– and fallen sick in a foreign country where you can’t speak the language, don’t know where to find a doctor or get food for yourself, will understand, I’m sure!

I’m grateful for farmers markets.

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Growing up extremely urban meant most of my knowledge of food involved styrofoam and cling wrap and packaging. So it was a real pleasure to discover farmer’s markets when I went to live in an agricultural country for the first time. Fruits, veggies and meat actually taste different newly harvested and off the back of a farmer’s truck, when you’ve spent time chatting with the person who grew or raised those edibles, getting advice, learning from those who invisibly feed the cities. I’m so grateful there are farmers markets in cities! I don’t know how to go back to supermarket apples any more.

I’m grateful for good food.

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It’s one of life’s purest, simplest and most consuming fleeting joys, I think. I don’t really understand people who have complicated relationships with food. I’m so grateful to have experienced several cultures which love their food, even have slightly obscene relationships with their food. Good food doesn’t have to be expensive, either, in my experience.

Picture: This is so-fresh-it-was-breathing-underwater-at-tea-time coûteaux persillié, a kind of marine shellfish cooked in butter, chopped parsley and garlic.