2011: Food for Thought

The older I get, the more quickly time seems to pass.  This isn’t to say that at ten, for example, I didn’t find myself on the last week of summer vacation, longing for yet another week to spend acting as if the days were endless and my responsibilities few.  But it’s different, now.  The days actually do seem endless so have a tendency to run together, leaving me with skewed ideas about when certain events happened, or how old something or someone is.  The eternal optimist in me always defaults to the fewer is better theory, and I tend to be wrong in those estimates.

Trying to locate particular shots in the libraries of my more than 20,000 photos provides a great example of this.  Bear in mind that I have the ability to actually organize my photos in more than a time based sequence, but I haven’t done that, so scroll through them thinking whatever I’m looking for will be easy to find.  It’s then I realize the notion of mine being a food centric life proves to be far more than a catch phrase as I scroll through our lives’ events searching for a recipe:  the layered ice cream cake for my youngest son’s graduation from high school year before last; a vegetable soup discovered during a weekend getaway to the mountains this past year; and those potatoes.  Those amazing potatoes we enjoyed on a trip to Las Vegas after busy season last year.

Or was it the year before?

And so my searching goes with each dish triggering memories of people and places, happy times, and sad events — all framed by the food we’ve eaten.  It’s an interesting way to think about one’s life.

Often, I become so involved by the images of our lives events, I forget which recipe I’m looking for, until reminded by something I’ve scribbled in one of my recipe notebooks, or a particular kitchen tool I used to create it.  Then the cycle repeats.  It’s maddening, but beneficial, being able to take stock of accomplishments, chide myself about what hasn’t been done, or be wistful about fleeting moments surely forgotten had I not had my camera.

Twenty-eleven was a year of learning different than any I’ve had before — a year of adjusting, growing, strengthening, and accepting all that comes in a year’s time.  Here’s my top 10 list of lessons learned in the past year — or acknowledged having learned yet again — definitely food for thought.

1.  With a little effort, you can discover new places in a place you’ve lived most your life and food doesn’t have to be involved.

Until lunch.

2.  Baking cake is one thing, but baking a wedding cake for the first time completely another…

…so it is important to appreciate the simplicity of “pie.”

3.  The third time isn’t always the charm, so there won’t be a fourth time no matter how optimistic you are, because really, lemonade is far more forgiving when you’ve got lemons.

4.  You can garden quite well in a fairly small space, and although no one will ever call you an urban farmer, you will continue in your efforts because it can brighten your table and reward you with hours of solitude.

5.  Just because you enjoy doing something doesn’t mean that others will, so do it for yourself.  It will make you smile.

6. Sometimes, that project you waited forever  to complete won’t look as great as you thought it might, but you’ll enjoy doing it anyway, then find a place for it in your closet.

7. Noticing the details is a choice that will always matter — but it depends on which details time is taken to notice.

8. You really can find something surprisingly wonderful after sifting through a sea of options if you’re willing to invest the time and not settle for the same old thing.

It works for more than butternut squash soup.


9.  It is more than possible to miss a tree each morning while sipping coffee and thinking about the day ahead.

10.  It is no surprise that something simple can be far more pleasing than…

 …something complicated, but not always, so keep trying and enjoy the experience.

I wish you a Happy New Year and hope that 2012 provides myriad choices to notice the details and find time for what matters most!