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Always Hungry

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Jeff Zalaznick, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of www.alwayshungryny.com, had agreed to let me guest blog on his website. It is enough to post weekly for Huffington, so I have been waiting for the inspiration to strike.

And at last, it had. (At least I thought so.)

It is Yom Kippur, a day of introspection and atonement, and also a day of fasting.

I was raised in a traditional Jewish household, where this is a big deal day. But from the moment I was expected to even contemplate a fast as a teenager, I became ravenous. I clearly remember the object of my intense and uncontrollable hunger -- Smokey the Bear cookies. So irresistible, they called to me even though now I would never ever touch a high caloric, trans-fat laden morsel like that. And I understand the visceral feeling that comes with fasting and atoning -- it is a true mind/body experience. A spiritual and physical cleanse I wish I could experience weekly, but really, not.

I am not built to fast. The thought of deprivation and self-control is impossible to reconcile with who I am. I am not a hard-core foodie, but I am someone who lacks the willpower to rise above the desire to explore the latest food adventure or who can control her desires when some external rule says 'abstain.' No, I have never merited an A for Abstinence, in any category whatsoever.

So, here it is, Yom Kippur, and I am trying not to eat. It is the only time in recent memory that I can honestly feel 'always hungry.' When I first was introduced to Jeff and his engaging website, I had a very hard time understanding how someone who eats all the time could ever declare themselves to be 'Always Hungry.' I mean, I get it -- Always Interested in new food, new dining experiences. But to be Always Hungry is either to be completely impoverished or to be obsessively controlled by food. And if the latter, wouldn't one be reluctant to admit it?

Always Hungry -- a great metaphor for our times. Hungry for the truth, for a good cause, for social justice, for love and meaning; I am always hungry for new intellectual pursuits or for the next inspirational idea. I am hungry for stimulation or for thrills.

But for food? Part of me is tempted to say "Never hungry" -- I eat more than enough and would be delighted to reduce my caloric intake.

Always Hungry -- the end of Yom Kippur inspired a wide range of culinary celebrations in Jewish households around the world. On my table: farm fresh scrambled eggs, oatmeal with lavender honey, Katchkie Farm tomatoes (I picked them myself) with cucumbers and fresh mozzarella, Katchkie Farm eggplant parmigian, cakes, smoked salmon and bagels, flatbread, Eli's breads, muenster cheese, rugalach, local peaches, rice pudding and more.

I came across Jeff and his staff on Saturday at the Vendy Awards for 2009 in Queens. They were in their element working to coordinate the trendy, hip, food-trucks competing for the best of the year award. It should be the Trendy-Vendy Awards. (Never mind that my soon to be launched food truck will astound everyone next year, but I am not ready to discuss this yet.)

Anyhow, an event sponsor, Always Hungry, helped to make this great event possible. And it was really, really fun, even though I reached my intake limit within five large bites of assorted meals. They ranged from tasty to really delicious to really not worth the space. About 150 large bites would be required to complete the course; judging all the finalists in the savory and sweet categories to determine who is the best of Vendy 2009. For a comprehensive review of the nominees and an overview of the dishes, check out the always hungry website for in depth descriptions and photos. I had planned on writing about the experience of eating at the Vendy's, but before I knew it, Yom Kippur was upon us and the words 'Always Hungry' took on another meaning. I was derailed.

So, Jeff, I will continue to wait for inspiration to blog for your joyful site and I know it will not be long! In the meantime, I wish you a sweet, delicious and never hungry new year.

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