Here I am suffering the tedium of another foreign land. Another beach. Hours of mindlessly sunbathing. Reading. Listening to music. And beer. Is this purgatory I ask myself?
It is purgatory! I went to breakfast and, although there was a diverse selection of foods spanning world tastes, there was no bacon! I commented on this and then immediately wished I hadn’t as a very polite and well meaning member of the waiting staff led me to a heated plate and announced that here was bacon. Yes, he was right, and he was totally wrong because here was turkey bacon! When did turkey qualify to become bacon? Is this really such a thing?
I smiled politely, thanked him for his attention and service and, when he had left me feeling affirmed I shuffled off to find a croissant and a strong cup of coffee. Back to basics I guess.
Everyone who has ever eaten meat knows that bacon is cured pork. Wikipedia agrees. BBC Food agrees. My butcher agrees!
But here is another sign of the gradual dilution of things in the world until all is vanilla or a shade of grey. All the time, in all areas of life, I witness the gradual dissolving of the things that make the differences, the things that bring uniqueness and colour to our world. We seem to be moving into a time when it is incorrect to point out our differences because, well I can only guess that I’m going to offend someone if I do. And yes, I’m well aware that there are those who assume higher position in the pecking order of life because they have a certain colour of skin, or belong to a certain persuasion of a particular religion, or like their sex in this way and not that. But, pulling down that pecking order and bringing everything to a single place, a great amalgamation of tastes and behaviours, is certainly not the answer.
Level the playing field, please do, but we need to celebrate our differences, our uniqueness and dare I say we need to look to the person within, not the shell without? I stood this morning in the restaurant and found myself in jovial conversation with a black man (am I allowed to say that now?) who dwarfed me and I stand 6 feet tall. He was big! He offered to help me with my choice and, it turned out he was the chef, the one all the other chefs referred to with “Yes, Chef”, he would cook me something else if I couldn’t find anything to please me. I declined but carried on in conversation for a while longer. He was a big, warm personality, passionate about the food he offered and I dare say, given the time and opportunity, we could have been friends. But we were different, so very different. Different skin tone, different upbringing, different religious views, and a load more I’m sure. But this is life and it’s passing and we both wanted to get the most from it. The ‘most’ isn’t found in alienating others because they are not like you. The most is found in embracing the differences and adding to our knowledge, our experience and our circle.
Don’t despise and shun others, teachers arise in the most unexpected places. Have an open heart, so much so that you don’t need to become part of the great colourless mess we are heading to. Have a spirit that accepts a woman’s/man’s colour, religion, gender choice, lifestyle etc. Of course I add my usual caveat, providing they are not doing harm to others or themselves. At that point acceptance is not on the table.
Let’s live to add colour to world, not take it away. Let’s live to help others be the brightest colour they can be and let’s celebrate their uniqueness with them. Pogue, I fear we are heading the wrong way in our attempts to smooth out everything that is unique. I suppose it is better than the alternative practiced by some throughout history, the removal of those who were deemed different. But, what will be left when men and women surrender their identity? Time may well tell.
That said, turkey still doesn’t make bacon, there is no such thing as vegan chicken or vegetarian sausages. I cook vegan, I think I do it rather well, I use spices and herbs. I enjoy the process and the journey. The world is a rich place, both in the kitchen and at large. I say again, celebrate the differences and don’t try to reduce everything to bacon.
Yours, off to give the chef my order,