Hello, Internet. I’ve been away. I had the good fortune to go to LA where I got to see some of my dearest friends. Could you please tell me why so many of the people I love live far away from me?

I actually really and truly love LA. I can pinpoint the night I fell in love with LA. V took me on the Neon Cruise. I fell in love somewhere around West Hollywood (as so many do, I assume.) But the joke was on me because I moved to Portland about three days later. When I go back, I bask in the sun and see friends and generally drive like a banshee. This time I rented a Mini Cooper coup. So fun.

What I really wanted to write about was this awesome article in the NY Times. Yes, it’s old, but still so relevant. And it’s a long read, so take your time. There were about 20 things that struck me about the article, but the one I want to talk about now is the idea that we don’t miss darning our own socks, so why should we miss cooking from scratch? I’m paraphrasing, but you get my drift.

The answer is: I have no idea. This weekend, Arch and I went to a farm, picked blueberries and peaches in the hot sun, came home and made jam. It was about 85 degrees. And I canned until around 12:30 at night. By the end, I was burned all over and cranky and sticky and the kitchen was a disaster.

I asked myself over and over, why am I doing this? I could just buy peach jam. I could just buy blueberry jam. And then I burned myself some more. And my peach jam didn’t set up (goodbye liquid pectin.)

I have no good answer to why I did this other than the fact that I have some excellent hostess gifts and both jams taste amazing. Better than regular jam? I don’t know. Maybe not.

But I also had this memory happening the whole time I was doing it. I was remembering my friend Kathryn teaching me to can a few years ago. It was this small moment where I got a bit more control of what I put into my body. I got a bit more control of my food. It was a revelation to me.

I have many thoughts about the problems with our food system, but one of the most disturbing things is that we just put random, unidentified crap in our mouths. We wouldn’t lick an airport carpet, right? Why not? Fear of the unknown? Fear of bad tastes? Fear of illness? Fear of not knowing what’s there? If we wouldn’t lick the airport carpet, why do we willingly put random crap we’ve not made ourselves in our mouths?

This is extreme, I know. No matter how much we cook from scratch, we’ll still need whole foods and we can’t control where those come from unless we all have our own farms. But I think cooking from scratch makes what we’re eating just a bit less scary and that’s a pretty good reason for doing it. Also, some people like burns. I don’t, but maybe you do.