Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Simple Life

I recently bought The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. Not to be too dramatic, it's changing my life. The author calls it a delicious revolution and I couldn't agree more. Although, truthfully, there are many people around the world who have always cooked simply, and continue to do so. The book is asking those people who have come to rely on faster convenient foods to think about the quality of the food they choose, and about the beauty of the eating ritual. Food is necessary for our entire well-being, not just as fuel. Ms Waters speaks about eating locally and seasonally, and although this is not ground breaking news in today's environmentally-conscious world, the way the book is presented is. She teaches her readers to move away from recipe-dependency, and to move towards cooking intuitively and simply. This is a complet change for me - a compulsive recipe follower. She gives us the basics - simple tools necessary in the kitchen, as well as simple techniques such as roasting and making broths. She then gives a few receipes for each technique to be practiced often. The last part of the book is filled with even more recipes, each of which will be learned and put into rotation at my house.
The "simple" way of approaching things is what is resonating with me. Life is so busy and chaotic sometimes, that pulling back from that, and just sitting down and reflecting is how I cope. I've had a lot of ups and downs recently, been busy with so many different things (but at the same time feel I have not really got anywhere), and I want to just sit back, reflect, and enjoy the everday activities. I don't want cooking after work to be a chore anymore - I want it to be a time of reconnecting with my husband and relaxing and recharging. I don't want running a household to be a chore anymore - I want it to be an enjoyable part of life. I don't want to be forever putting off creative ideas and activities for lack of time, or for feeling that something other must be done first. Looking back at how I approach life, I realize that this desire has always been there for me - when I first moved out on my own, I sat down for weeks in a row and copied some of my mother's recipes onto 3.5 x 5 cards, handwriting them in a fountain pen, instead of just photocopying the pages; I get great pleasure from digging a new garden - just smelling the dirt and thinking of the potential of the garden; I am thrilled when I take a freshly baked loaf of bread out of the oven, made completely from scratch. But these are just moments in the middle of stress and work and busy-ness. I want more.
I've spent a few months now reflecting on big things. I've recently finished the second of two unsuccesul rounds of IVF, and have decided not to try again. We are uncertain whether we will be adopting, or moving forward in life without children. Either way takes a re-organization of our ideas and thoughts and dreams of the past 5 or 6 years years which were concentrated on the goal of having kids. Either way, I want to move on from the stress and heaviness of the past several years, and enjoy the here and now, instead of forever waiting for the future to happen. Guess what, I've blinked and almost a decade has gone by.
We are now in a new house, in town (we were way out in the country before), and are reconnecting with friends and family. Now is the perfect time to start enjoying now. I've taken a couple of days off work, and am sitting in my new back yard, messy as it is, sitting enjoying a coffee, barefoot in the grass, sitting under a tree, smelling the lilacs from the neighbours, watching a bird feed her new babies, listening to the wind in the leaves, and planning future 'now' moments.