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 mean 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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