Injuries: 0. Houses Built: 0
I’m a subscriber to John Irving‘s idea that if you’ve had a crap day, cooking dinner is your last opportunity to accomplish something worthwhile, and redeem yourself.
For an overacheiver, it’s inevitable that most days are a disappointment, unless you’ve managed to get Warren Buffet on the phone discussing your plan for relieving world poverty. Even when I’ve suceeded in laying a few stones in a new wall, I usually arrive at dinnertime with more than a just a hunger in my stomach. I have a hunger of the soul as well.
I thought I’d be wacking up a couple of thick stone walls this week, but I need to find two old gorgeous gates before I start them. I’ve been searching for months for the gates and now it’s really holding me up. The delay has given me the time to have three days of migraines, and a whole lot more to complain about. So instead of writing about how the building is going, I’m writing, again, about cooking, and complaining. There it is.
Anyway… dinner. Half the battle for some people is in deciding what to make. It’s not just that you want the result to be delicious and satisfying. Dinner should also should pay lip service (at least) to healthiness AND be new and thrilling, either because you have an audience to please, or just because when things are new, life brightens up a bit.
I’m writing about it because I have just made another great dinner that met the three essential criteria; Yummy, Healthy and New. And I’ve had a mild revelation.
It was basically a pile of blanched green beans with a bunch of small tomatoes, a small tin of emblemic portuguese tuna, olives, a poached egg and a mean lemony herby mayonnaise. The recipe is not the revelation – it’s about where the meal originated from.
Most of it came from my garden. The beans, tomatoes, the herbs, and the olives were mine, the lemon & egg was from my neighbour and the tuna was from… a tin.
Home grown. Food that has come from your own garden almost automatically satifies all the soul food requirements. You’re relieved of the decision of what to make, because you have to make whatever is ready to eat.
Food from you own garden is different from the boring paid for-kind. Garden direct vegies have the power to convert you to food you always hated. Cabbage for example. I never voluntarily ate cabbage until picking it myself. After all, if you’ve gone to the trouble of watering it for months, you do feel obliged to try it at least once. Trying = New. And now I’m addicted.
And fresher is certainly yummier, and healthier. But there’s something of an added cosmic extra about a great meal made with your own gear. It’s an accomplishment of the human animal’s positive interaction with nature. It’s redeeming. It’s soulful.
Growing your own is of course an essential component in the “dump your job and get a life” program. Simplify. Skip the supermarket bullshit. Skip the packaging and the petrol and the spending. Just like a vista of olive trees and the sound of silence, home grown food makes us happier humans.
But because I’m just a city girl in recovery, I want to ride the high higher. I’m going out for dessert. Yay for that other non-farma antidepressant. Cake.
All my love to Anthony. We learn as we go.