“If the windows are the eyes of the house, and the kitchen is the heart, then the front porch is the house’s Internet connection. “ (Brent Rosen for online magazine “Okra.”)
This a.m. I discovered “Okra” as I was researching the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. I have developed an interest – an obsession, really – with Southern culture and the simple, humble food I grew up with.
That was before I fancied myself a gourmet cook and became a food snob. I put paper booties on my pork roast and added white truffle oil to my grits. Now, I’m back. Bring on the grits and greens, hold the designer oils and food wardrobe.
I’ve come full circle and more interested in replicating the food my grandmother cooked – the comfort food that takes me back. I’m collecting pimiento cheese and deviled egg recipes and dreaming of a pot of black eyed peas- cooked until almost unrecognizable. But back to the front porch which is tied to Southern culture as tightly as walking barefoot on a hot summer day with a melting banana popsicle.
Rosen notes that the front porch does everything that facebook does: you can connect with friends, exchange news, publicize events, but without being filtered through a keyboard and a screen.
The front porch offers access to reality, and nothing about sitting in a rocking chair and visiting with your neighbors is virtual. Yet today, even in the South, many people spend most of their outdoors time on their back porches, if they even go outside at all. The back porch provides access only to invited guests, an area closed off to the wider world.
As an experiment yesterday, several of my neighbors got together to do some porch sitting. After solving all the problems of the world, it seemed fitting to go pull out the ice cream maker and brew a batch. I highly recommend such short “vacations” from technology. (Well, we did plug in the ice cream maker.)