Monday, July 10, 2006

Spontaneous Celebration

In my last post I admitted to mulling over food schemes for years, even decades. A seed image or concept sticks in my grey matter to gestate and once in, takes on a life of its own ever at the ready to make a grand show. Considering this behavior and others I decidedly concluded that I am born to celebrate. Before you start off with images of a person who frequently squeals in high pitched tones and wears sequins and lots of purple, let me assure you I do not. I view myself as perpetually riding a tight line between restraint and abandon, more often with measured temperance being my top note. Underneath how loose or tightly I hold the reins however, is the indistinguishable awareness of a moment that will pass all-too-soon. As long as I can remember, I have felt an almost urgent sense of time’s movement. While it was obvious that living in the world meant ordering one’s days around the clock and calendar as physical markers. I was also responding emotionally to the invisible reality of each moment dying and then arising into the next one. As a kid I felt pulled between the solemnity for the one left behind and the excitement and distraction of the full alive present. Moving towards adulthood this literal tension gradually translated into a quiet kind of honoring or private reverie that naturally seems to develop in the presence of something special. And then included or extended from that awe, the people and activities held within this ever transient container.

As I await the arrival of my friend J-bird so soon after bidding adieu to my parents and- that Smorgastorta, I find myself in a contemplative place. If there ever were a time to pull out all the stops and bring my inner flights of fancy to form, it would be now. For any opportunity to meet up with a loved one is precious especially given my recent cross country trek. And J-bird is not just any loved one. She is my oldest friend going back 21 years. We survived architecture school together (which was bad) and she has seen me through the initial shock and horror of my diagnosis not to mention the subsequent ups and downs of living with disease (which was worse). She has been the fair witness to my life: staunchly loyal and empathetic to the highest degree; she is a delightful blend of intelligence, wit, observation and bite. J-bird also happens to be an incredibly finessed cook and one that would spare no expense in orchestrating every detail to lavish her guests. For her, I consider how to bring together a meal that remotely matches how much she means to me-- and I flounder. My food fantasies might do the trick if I had a team of ten working around the clock for a month and had access to hens laying golden eggs and a couple of Chinese acrobats. But, I do not. Hunkering down “in the best seat of the house” I allow the hypnotic rhythm of shelling edamame beans to patter out a simple truth. In turning over the various sumptuous scenarios in my head, I recognize that the forms and movement of celebration can steer away from the original clear intent of love, instead becoming an overblown confection. Back to earth, I remember that generosity and hospitality first find home in the heart. Tonight I will savor time with a dear friend, feast with my eyes and soul- and let the food follow.
(But in case you want to know…we ate:

Tomato tart with olives and caramelized onions
Haddock with Edamame puree and French feta salsa verde on watercress
Passion-fruit Gelee with Basil Cream and it was good).


Maritza said...

This post made me sniffle up and get all weepy. We forget to treat each simple day as a celebration and to honor each other in a simple and heartfelt way. Jbird is a wonderful friend with a bite (that's why we love her). I can hardly wait to get to the office tomorrow and hear all about her trip and the wonderful meal you made for her. (let's not forget Duncan! He's the best!)

jbird said...

I only wished time spent in the company of loved ones was like molasses in January....that it lingered for a good long while and glommed itself onto the edges of the rim of the jar. But sadly, it always disappears as fast as .....well, as fast as one of Callypgia's meal's.....into my stomach. It is impossible to distinguish the happy warm company and the happy delicious belly that is always filled to the max. The meal always memorable and divine and as the last gulp goes down, I am filled with a mix of sheer delight and sadness too, at the passage of time and that soon our visit will be over. Thanks, Callypgia, for the kind and dear words of our precious friendship.
Here's to many more meals and visits to come! This last meal was particularly fabulous, not only was the dinner sublime and captured all the freshness and joy of summertime, we got to dine with the setting sun against the White Mountains...Just lovely! What a difference to be back in the urban jungle. I carry a happy heart in my belly. Thank you, dear sweet friend.

Callipygia said...

maritza- "we forget to treat each simple day as a celebration and to honor each other in a simple and heartfelt way." Well put, perhaps you will visit on their next visit.

jbird- too fast,another great memory and many more!

Anonymous said...

In general I would rather take some kind of space-age food pill than wory about eating anything. This blog, however, made me yern for a sensual experience that I had unwittingly deprived my self of for many years.