Then there is the consumption of the food. We set a table, organize a plate and then layer the servings with courses, conversation, and love. Again, simple values.
This is an ideal. But without an ideal to hold on to, there is no direction toward which we look, no standard by which we hold ourselves to. Core values. Simple core values.
I think that one core value that is taking president in many kitchens is one of a flat and lateral buying process. It is one that calls kitchens and chefs to buy local and buy fresh and even organic.
There are manifold complications in this simple core value. But, that does not mean it should not remain fixed as the standard and direction toward which eyes and efforts face.
The cost of local, fresh, and even organic food is hefty. Many times we cannot spread that cost out evenly over the dining process and maintain and adequate ROI. You don't have to explain that to me - the food service manager of a church camp. But, we know the sumptuousness, taste, and nourishment quotient of foods that come from a flat and lateral buying process are far superior to national, bulk, and processed foods.
Looking for small ways to begin the process may be the beginning of an answer. Planting herb gardens that we routinely draw from to flavor our foods is a grand beginning. Connecting with local co-ops may be a fine second step. Too often people write off the whole idea because they are not able to convert their buying apparatus to a completely local venue.
It takes more time and planning to begin to mix local options into your purveyor routine, but in the end, the satisfaction that food builders and chefs find comes not only from their own resolve but from the applauds of their guests. It is not easy, but it does add to the pleasure we receive from our craft and trade.