living underground in the real world

finest work song

This “economic downturn” (read: global fiscal disaster) has me thinking about how much I enjoy(ed) running my business with anti-capitalist principles at the forefront.

I really like my clients, and they like me, and it’s truly not just an exchange of money for food. It sounds silly, but when I find a good client and they find me we’re both really happy. It’s a symbiotic relationship, and I’ll do pretty much anything for a good client. I’m never happy with clients that I know are crazy – I can never get into the “whatever, just take their money” mode. I’d like to say it’s because I want to infuse my food with good energies and I can’t do that if I think the person who is going to eat it is screwy, but it’s really just that I get annoyed easily. I reserve the right to refuse service, and I do. All the time. (Needless to say, running my business in this astonishingly unprofessional way has really made me see the importance of comporting myself with kindness and politeness in other businesses.)

The word most of my clients always mention to me is “nourished,” as in “I feel so nourished,” “the food is so nourishing.” The business exists to nourish people, but it needs to be nourishing for me, too. Many people just don’t get the way I cook – they are obsessed with little details that really don’t matter (wheat, nightshades, fat, salt) and can’t see the big picture: it’s really important to eat good food. Good in terms of hearty and real and honest and labor-intensive, not good in terms of low-fat or low-salt or wheat-free or free of tomatoes or useless shit like that. Unless you truly have a wheat intolerance (and you probably don’t–trust me), or your health is truly compromised (you have diabetes, etc.), you don’t need to worry about that junk. What you need to do is eat real food and everything else will fall into place, because real food is never super high salt and high fat and all that. And if you’re scared of nightshades and you don’t already have terrible arthritis or something, you just need to get over yourself.

(This is not to diminish the immense issues people with true food allergies and ailments have to deal with. It’s just that I am utterly exhausted with people who read one article on wheat intolerance or something and then tell me they are “allergic” to wheat and expect me to throw off thousands of years of tradition in order to cater to their made-up food phobias. I do wish I could cater to people with true food intolerances–everyone deserves good food–but it’s just not the way my business works.)

Because of the above factors, it’s fairly hard for me to find new clients. Society has so distanced ourselves from a true relationship with food that it’s hard for people to understand that my service is the real deal. I get lots of inquiries, but finding people who mesh with me is sometimes difficult. Super ultra health foodie people don’t always get what I’m doing because they still think good food means deprivation, and food snobs don’t like me because of the vegetarian thing. Finding an inroad between those two camps is tricky.

I’m not whining here–things are really fine in a larger sense–but I’m fascinated by how quickly my potential client base appears to have been spooked by economic crap going on, and how all of the sudden that small little pool of Lagusta’s Luscious people seems to have dried up. I know it’s also partly the High Holidays and partly just a fluke, and I know I’m overworrying about it, but it all has me thinking about how capitalism is so weird.

It’s this crazy illusion that we all agreed to believe in (some more than others), and it’s gotten so amazingly out of hand. If you can keep it from breaking your heart, it’s interesting to sit and watch it crumble. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately–what is money, really? Why are there so many people in our culture who contribute nothing to the world, who just push paper money around all day long?

Maybe we’re moving through something right now–the end of rapacious capitalism, an African-American President perhaps…we’re growing up a little, and it’s painful, as it always is I suppose. We had to change.

This economic shit is very, very bad, but if we could wake up and see that our entire economic system has become “socialized” by the very people who argue that having “socialized medicine” would kill us or something, if we could see that giant companies are stealing our money in broad daylight–we’re standing in a precipice. We’ll probably fall into the abyss, so slowly that we won’t realize it until our quality of life is so degraded that…well, I don’t want to think about it. Because there is always that slim chance, that clichéd small shaft of light in the middle of unspeakable darkness, that we will wake up and decide to grab, you know, the fucking means of production.

It’s our world, it’s our democracy, and we want it back. Workers of the world, I am not kidding or being cutsey here: UNITE.

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