daun leaf me
Accepting something sweet is always easier than accepting something bitter, in tasting life, in tasting the food we eat. We are given the bitter taste to indicate that potential food/leaf is poisonous, this was of course before our ancestors had the knowledge of the cooking process, before there were this many human beings on earth, before we could easily communicate with others, the hunters and gatherers. So naturally for us, when biting into something bitter, we would repel from consuming it. Getting ourselves to eat enough leaves was harder, being younger and wanting only what tasted good, I didn’t like the taste, the look, the smell; how come something that’s so hard to swallow is actually the healthiest? Even the most dishes I would eat and actually crave these days, are not the ones I would crave, this was a process, a slow development of taste that I had to experience.
Leaves are so much more than the food we eat to get enough nutrients and fibers, especially living in a tropical country where we are blessed to be surrounded with lots of evergreen plants. A lot of the plants that are common to us have various usage; its ability to trap heat and steam makes it one of the earliest culinary tools, food wrapped in leaves has their own added flavor and aroma we seek; an ancient legend told us that a divine farmer, Shennong, discovered tea, the second most consumed beverage in the world after water; composting teaches us that all leaves, whether it’s edible or not, can be used and transformed into something nutritious for plants; edible foraged goods and the common leaves we see in the supermarket aisle is cooked into a sentimental memory we still hold on dear.
In this issue, we are reintroducing our green friends. Daun Leaf Me is about saying hello and getting to know leaves in different ways, think of it as months of nongkrong, hanging out, with them. Don’t think of it as this bitter green thing we hated, explore the many ways it affects us. Grab a seat and see how tea leaves redefine the act of letting go, how edible foraged leaves make a beautiful forest salad, what you would find in between the forest of Indonesia and Copenhagen, how a simple green leaf can have a big impact on nursing mothers, and of course many others to come.