Lori Falce: The dangers of sautéing garlic
“We are safe and sound.”
A friend posted the alert to Facebook late Sunday.
She wanted to let us know that she was not one of those killed at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California. She wanted to let us know that her family wasn’t being treated for bullet wounds.
She wanted to let us know because what might seem like a local event — the equivalent of the Bushy Run Battlefield re-enactment or the Three Rivers Regatta — isn’t that simple for us. It’s kind of our Disneyland.
We are recipe contesters. You know those people who you see on Food Network, the ones who are in a barbecue championship or a burger cook-off? That’s us.
We are an odd assortment of grandmas from Pittsburgh and moms from Minneapolis and dog lovers from Chicago and anyone you can imagine from everywhere in America. The glue that holds us together is cookie dough. We have bonded for years over competition and a love of feeding people.
And just like the Steelers might go to the Super Bowl or a gymnast might dream of the Olympics , we have our own kind of Triple Crown.
There’s the Pillsbury Bake-off, of course. That’s our Super Bowl. There are a handful of others that have nice prizes for cooking a burger or designing the Mona Lisa of grilled cheese sandwiches.
But then there’s Gilroy.
It’s not the oldest. It doesn’t have the biggest purse. But the prestige of being asked to compete at Gilroy is like being asked to perform for the queen. It’s more than just the recipe. It signals something. You’ve made the big time, kid. We are thrilled when one of our number is picked, like they have been called up from the minors to pitch in the World Series.
So I know that I wasn’t the only one who heard about the shooting — a minute that left three victims dead and 12 injured at the hands of an apparent white supremacist — and knew there was a very real possibility we knew someone who was hurt.
And I’m tired of that.
I’m tired of hearing about an attack and having it be far too easy to personalize. I’m tired of hearing that you aren’t safe when you learn or when you dance or when you listen to music or when you pray or when you work. I’m exhausted by the empathy — by the “there but for the grace of God” of it all.
And I’m sickened by the fact that I’m tired.
Tired means that the evil and the violence is winning. Tired means we have reached a place where each fresh atrocity blends into the next. Tired makes it too easy for empathy to become apathy.
How have we gotten to a place where trying to make the best roasted garlic risotto is dangerous? Or that a regular Sunday night activity is marking yourself safe on social media from a mass shooting event?
Lots of my friends were in Gilroy for the festival. None of them was among the injured.
I am relieved. I am not relaxed.
I’m tense with the knowledge that there are other competitions. There are other festivals. There are other innocuous activities that haven’t yet been ruined by tragedy.
And there will be other shootings.
Lori Falce is a Tribune-Review community engagement editor. You can contact Lori at [email protected].