I'm home alone today, watching an endless billowing haze of snow and wind whip past my office window. Seems like it carries away with every gust a bit more of the warmth and joy of the past three days. And I don't mean to sound sad. I'm really not sad at all, only finding a new rhythm as the weather wipes away the noisy, busy, never-ending lines of three yesterdays - like a child's winding, stair-stepping doodle erased bit by bit from the face of an Etch-a-Sketch. Now it's time to draw four days of plan and structure, with sure shape and pre-known places to begin and then end again.
The patterns of a family's life are every kind of art. Drawn, painted, sculpted, danced, sung, played... expression and product, form and function, appreciation and criticism.
I'm currently reading The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. It's a (fictional) exploration of relationships through beautiful food and soulful cooking and their inherent sensual connection to one another. A difficult idea to explain, yet as I read the very first paragraph, I was immediately inside the story looking out, feeling like the author and characters and I were the only few people in the world who understood anything at all. I try to explain it to Al, but you can't strip an idea like this of nuance and subtlety and deliver it in black and white, which is how he'd want it. Otherwise I do that thing where I get just so far into the explanation, begin to feel embarrassed by my own rambling earnestness and passion in the face of his patient waiting-for-the-pointness, and quietly un-speak the rest of it with a shrug and apologetic smile.
But to the book's point, I have always cooked with my heart, and feed my beloved people with more than ingredients. Whether I intend to or not, I pour my deepest feelings into sauces and soups and just all of it, these in equal parts with meat and grain and produce and seasoning. I watch and wait as they see and taste, and wonder what of parts of my offerings they'll recognize somehow and make part of themselves as they eat and enjoy.
Yes. That's it.
Anyway, if you are a food-lover and a reader and one who can think and talk on relationships and emotion for hours, you will devour this book with every part of yourself. I'm going to cry and long for more when it's over - this I already know.