Feasting

by Carilyn on July 4, 2022

This isn’t a recipe post so much as it is an ode to eating, my favorite pastime.  With all the stress, turmoil, illness, strife, and general unhappiness that we have witnessed over the last couple of. years, one shining ray of positivity has broken through the dark clouds of despair many of us have felt on and off – learning to eat at home again.  I love that eating out had become such an expected part of our regular life experience.  I can think of very few things that give me more pleasure than a great meal cooked by someone who loves to feed people.  I love supporting people who choose the restaurant industry as their calling, and who make their living in it.

But, with so much accessibility to “other-made-food”, I believe we started trending back towards the days when convenience trumped quality.  As a child of the 70s and 80s, I had a front row seat to the quick and cheap “modern” foods – TV dinners, canned pastas, shelf-stable cheese.  While I don’t believe eating out a lot is exactly synonymous with that time period, I do think many of us had gotten a little too comfortable just “grabbing” something on our way home, or “throwing something in the microwave”.

Lockdown, as heinous as it was, seemed to shake us out of our trance.  While “I MADE BREAD!” posts became ubiquitous on Instagram, and turned into mocking memes, really, that was awesome.  People who had never known the self-satisfaction of taking a few humble ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, water) and making something sustaining and delicious were suddenly so moved by it that they posted for all to see, even when their loaves were misshapen, burned, too blonde, or just plain disasters.  People were cooking, and feeding themselves, and they were proud.

As a cook, I loved every story I saw.  I appreciated every person who went into their kitchen and created something from random ingredients.  I loved the pride.  I understood the excitement.  I reveled in the joy.

And that is how I feel every time I cook a “feast”.  And by feast I meant any meal that is intentional, generous in courses, not rushed, and celebrated with shared photos and conversation.  I love the communal quality of cooking with Tim, music playing, a glass of very chilled Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc on the counter, and knives, cutting boards, the salt cellar, blocks of good butter, and pans spread out across my kitchen.  We always have good music playing in the background, and better conversation going on between the “hand me the olive oil” and “did you check on the veg”?  Every time, every meal, feels special.

So, please keep on cooking.  Please go on sharing photos of what you made.  Maybe you aren’t a chef or a master photographer, but some of us really love your creations, nonetheless.  Because we love what they stand for, what they tell us without telling us: that you are home, creating, feeding, comforting, and living a generous life in spite of how hard and scary life can be.  We can all feast on that.

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Up and Down Mountains

by Carilyn on April 16, 2022

I found myself inadvertently heading up the mountain today. I just started walking, determined to get my mileage, but feeling very little enthusiasm. If you read my last post, you know I have been struggling of late. I’m grateful for my Project6240, as it forces me to move every single day, which is wonderful for a bruised soul, but it can also seem a bit like a death march when I’m not feeling it.

I had met Tim for lunch, his way of trying to show me love and support without hinting at sympathy – which I hate. We ate at a restaurant at the base of the Franklins, so, though I normally do most of my miles in the Valley closer to my house, I decided to make the most of the gorgeous weather, and headed up, up, up. And it was perfect. I’d forgotten what it felt like to just head out with no destination in mind. Over the last couple of years, I had felt so limited in where I could go, not wanting to get too far away from my car in case a phone call came telling me I had to rush up to my parents. These calls were frequent, and at all hours, so being miles away from my car just added an element of stress that ruined any outing that was more complicated than loops around a park or on my treadmill.

The mountain miles felt so easy, so unencumbered, that I actually teared up. THIS was why I had always gone adventuring, even as a little girl. THIS was what had kept me moving after all these years. Yes, I had loved my years competing, the challenge of being able to run around a track for 24 hours, staying in the zone, racking up as many miles as possible, but I hadn’t realized how much I had missed just setting out and moving, with no goal, able to take any trail or road that seemed appealing. No one was relying on me to be home at a certain time. No one (knock wood) was going to call me to solve a crisis or handle an emergency. I was no longer on call.

I know I will wake up again tomorrow with the same sense of desolation as this morning, but for a few brief hours, I relished in the freedom of being able to go up and down mountains again.

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Lost and Found

April 14, 2022

Trying to get traction after my mom’s death has proven to be difficult. As one of her primary caregivers for the last several years, it has been very strange to suddenly find myself with little responsibility. I basically went from taking care of kids to taking care of my mom. Now, I am a childless […]

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Lemon Glazed Honey Cake

April 11, 2022

If you follow me on social media, you may have read that my beloved mom passed away a couple of weeks ago. It was not a shock because she had been declining over the last couple of years after she took a fall in the middle of the night and broke her hip. But, it […]

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Skillet Apricot Upside Down Cake

October 7, 2021

My mom loves apricots. When we were little, she would feed us apricot nectar any time we got sick, always saying it was one of the few fond memories she had from her tumultuous childhood. She planted an apricot tree in our side yard, ensuring we had a bumper crop of her favorite fruit even […]

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You Say Mango, I Say Mahngo. Regardless, It’s Still Not Salad, Y’all

May 5, 2021

A looooooong time ago, way before I became a pro runner but after I’d gone on hiatus from practicing law, when I had new babies at home and was finding myself cooking ALL THE TIME, I hosted a cooking segment on the local news. Part of my job was to come up with a theme, […]

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