Thursday, November 19, 2009

Food: Celebration, Sustinence, Much Needed Overhaul

Thanksgiving is next week. I think I saw some turkey plates and napkins last night at an undisclosed shopping center (you know, the one done up in red and white with bulls eyes on every tag?) Honestly, I didn't let it bother me. I love Thanksgiving. I love Christmas. I'm glad they happen within a month of each other. It's nice to feel like I have two months of celebrating to do. Of course, I like to count Halloween in with the holiday festivities and if you tag on New Year's you have four holidays together that are all about fun, gathering together, and food.

Ah, yes. Food. Nourishment. Sustenance. These are the words that spring to mind when I see a plate of homemade pasta, a bubbling cauldron of stew, a loaf of bread still warm and steamy from the oven. What does not come to mind is anything wrapped in plastic, cardboard, or housed in a freeze dried box. That's called eating on the fly. Sadly, it's what most of us have come to regard as "lunch" and "dinner".

I've said this before (and I'll probably say it again): I know life has become hectic. There are so many out there who long for a slower pace but are unable, for whatever reason, to attain it at the moment. And yes, there are those who don't want it. I think they just haven't slowed down long enough to know they want it, but I digress :)

There are things about my own life I cannot change right now. I work in an office with wonderful people but I am a slave to my desk and a wringing, impatient phone. The calls are 7 times out of 10 wrought with frustration, impatience and annoyance. I understand business must go on. But so does life.

I eat at my desk. My break doesn't come until 3 and my metabolism will not allow me to wait that long to eat. So my lunch is usually punctuated with the shrill ringing of phone and the request from a co-worker. For thirty minutes every day, I get to breathe. If it's sunny (or moderately dry) I go outside and I do not care how hot or cold it is. I need the fresh air, the sunlight, the misty rain on my lips and fingertips. I need to partake of something sustaining. Food nourishes the body; nature nourishes the soul.

Not only are we running at break neck speed, past healthy meals and communion around the table, we are blind to the beauty around us. There are acres of trees changing garments, showing off and showing out before they don their drab, peasants' garb of winter. Do we see the tree aflame in the early morning light? Do we see the field awash in a silver mist? Or do we only see brake lights, hear horns honking, feel anger and possibly rage?

Guilty. Loud gets noticed. It's a pitiful fact. Throw a fit and the world will know about it. Weep behind locked doors and no one will be the wiser, coming to you the minute you emerge with problems of their own.

There is strength in silence, my friend. Strength to be found in the peaceful hours before dawn, in the stirring of a pot of homemade tomato sauce, in partaking of bread and wine with a loved one. Would I love to do this every day? Make a home cooked meal, grind my own wheat for a fresh loaf of bread once a week? Roll out my lasagna noodles on my counter instead of dumping them from a box? You bet I would. But I have yet to reach that point in my life. Until then (and yes, I will make it there), I set aside one afternoon a week in which to make a life. One afternoon, after work, for kneading and stirring and chopping and cork-popping. It makes an ordinary day seem extraordinary. And for a few, blissful hours I can sip of what will be.
*image found here


  1. Well said. My day begins with a moment of slow - starting a fire in the cook stove. This is not an act that can be rushed or the fire will not take. I love to listen to the crackle of the kindling and watch the flames lick at the wood.
    I would love to be a SAHM and spend the day caring for home and hearth; cooking and cleaning. Not to be - just yet.

  2. That describes my weekends. Cooking like Julia Child on speed to cram in all the homemade goodness I can before the monday morning alarm sounds.

  3. I don't like to cook, but I have been hand-quilting lately. Sure I can whip it out in no time on the machine, but it is something that needs to be relished and appreciated.

  4. What a wonderful way to start the day,Annette! Tending a fire in a cookstove. The only thing about our loft we wish we could change would be to put in a fireplace. Unfortunately, I don't think they'd let us! But no worries; our next place will have one. And it will crackle and hiss and sing!

    DG: Cooking like Julia Child on speed - I love the mental image :) That will be me tomorrow and next week getting ready for Thanksgiving.

    Lin: I love hand stitching. I don't quilt, but I do make a lot of things with fabric. I have a machine that I have yet to learn to use. I would just rather sit on the couch and stitch. It limits what I can make, but for now, it's enough.

  5. you hit the nail right in its head! i, too, am guilty of this rat race life we all seems to live. i keep saying to myself, one day i shall be enjoying my life without the stress of work. i would tend to my garden and read a book. cook home-made meals for my hubby and little one( i tried most of the time to do so)!!

    life should be lived gazing out of the window on a cold misty morning sipping a mug of steaming coffee!...simple less ordinary but nonetheless great!

  6. Fire in the fireplace - gas logs. Okay, not as wonderful as a real fire but still, not too shabby either.
    Loved this post. We're a fan of slow and enjoy home cooked meals, home baked bread, I make jams in the summer, can tomatoes and beans. While we love to travel and do a fair amount, we also spend a lot of time at home. We both work from home and are here 24/7/365.
    Like Aunt Bonnie said, when you're living at heaven on earth, why leave?
    I mustn't forget...slow living - the best!

  7. What a beautifully written and well said post. I remember those days gone by when I was in the office and my life revolved around constant demands. Now that I'm retired I think I've perfected the art of silence and watching and it's beautiful. To everything there is a season.
    Your words are so very moving and true.

  8. Thank you so much for visiting and your lovely comment. I love your blog here. Your writing about Autumn especially is breathtaking. It's my favorite season and I m a bit sad that it's almost winter. Your vivid descriptions of Fall make me relish the experience of this most beautiful of seasons. Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. I understand, Salitype. I long to ease into my day by sipping coffee by the window as the sun wakes up the earth.

    Sandra, I must confess I envy your working from home and living in heaven :) I love our loft and we are happy here, but one day we hope to own our own piece of heaven.

    Mountain Woman: Enjoy perfecting the art of silence. What a lovely "job" to have :)

    Judy, you are more than welcome and thank you!


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