Monday night, without my kids, but with two of my nieces, my sister-in-law, and Grandma and WG, we sat down to a meal of: pappardelle with bolognese sauce, salad, garlic bread, ice cream with raspberries and chocolate sauce. It was the last night of a visit, after all. The dinner was fairly uncomplicated, when you think about it. Then again, when I consider what it takes to put food on our table I become overwhelmed by the enormity of the process.
Over educated though I am, I wouldn’t consider myself a deep thinker. I have a lousy memory, especially for history and important facts (but an exacting one for minutia). And, even though I try to “get the big picture” – a phrase I fondly remember from driver’s education when I was seventeen – I become stuck in the narrow tunnel of everyday life. Suddenly, though, I’ll find myself in, say, a restaurant and I’ll begin to imagine all of the people involved in getting my dinner on the plate. I don’t mean just the servers and cooks. I mean EVERYTHING, down to the carpeting, the napkins, each element of the food (who made the big cans that held the tomatoes for the sauce?), the cooks’ uniforms, the wood for the tables, the plate itself (china made in China?). The web of people, industries, transportation, raw materials, machinery, etc., becomes so intricate that it is overwhelming to me. The sheer number of people who touch my life each day, who I don’t know, but are probably within six degrees of separation, is unfathomable. The global economy that supports the system is even more baffling. How can and does it all work?