I’ve been back from my trip East for a couple of weeks now and think I’ve finally caught up with sleep and processed all my memories along with the more than 500 photos I took. It’s a relaxing task to process photos after a trip and I find myself grinning like a sap as I work, time passing much more quickly than I’d like. Laundry, dishes, and other chores are waiting, but to be so engrossed in a task that little else interferes with is a good thing — something that confirms I enjoy what I’m doing. It helps when the photos I’m processing are of good things as well: lovely places, good times with people I care about, and great food, of course.
I glanced at the date on my last post knowing that much time had passed, but had no idea two months could pass so quickly. Suffice to say that life has happened in all its manifestations — some joyous, and others, far less.
At first, I gave in to the prodding of it all, enjoying a real excuse to not write, not take photos of our food, in fact, avoid climbing the stairs to my office to work for any reason whatsoever. Then, there was a feeling of relief, somewhat like that I experienced on my last day of work. It wasn’t a face down in the sand sort of thing, but still. Eventually, I began to notice a quiet nagging that inserted itself into quiet moments, reminding me I had work to do.
So what have I done in the time that has passed beyond missing the people I’ve come to know and love who enjoy food as much as I do without saying as much as a how do you do before dropping out of sight?
After a lifetime of wanting to visit New England in the fall, I can finally say I’ve done that. Starting in Portsmouth, NH, we traveled to Maine, Vermont, Upstate New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island with New Hampshire thrown in at least twice. And we’ve done it as a couple after so many, many years of vacationing with children and others. All wonderful vacations, absolutely, but there is something different about heading out with your sweetheart to see new places and things, enjoy great food, and good company — for almost two weeks. The grand test in life is to spend time with the person you made all those promises to in front of all those people years ago on your wedding day and know that you’ll laugh, share a bit of wonder and worry, get lost a few times even though you have GPS, and squabble, yet hold hands. Crying is in order as well if you’re anything like I am, for all kinds of reasons. Oh, the sheer joy of it all. The glorious beauty. I thank goodness that I am able to travel and see where and how others live their lives. It enriches me beyond all my expectations each and every time we set out to places unknown to us.
Then there is the post vacation, back to Earth recovery.
So much has gone on it’s been difficult to care about writing about food partially because it seems so trivial in comparison. In the meantime, I’ve enjoyed living life watching each day pass, busying myself with mundane tasks so I can mull over everything with the added benefit of seeming to be more organized than when I began. It’s been purposeful and restorative.
But I’ve begun to feel as if I’m playing hookey. Ditching class. Hiding out to avoid what’s required, yet missing what’s important.
You know. Work. It’s important.
So here I am. I’m back to work. I’m searching for the words and trying to explain, hoping it doesn’t sound like the proverbial excuse written on the tattered remnant of a receipt left in one of my reusable grocery bags. I’ve got recipes lined up waiting to be shared. Lots of them. And even more exciting — the discovery of a local farmer who delivers! Amazing.
But life is like that if we take the time to notice, isn’t it? Especially the very small bits and pieces.
Here are the bits and pieces of our road trip through New England.
When I saw Mario Batalli with Gwynneth Paltrow in the September ’08 issue of Food & Wine, I thought, “Hmm…interesting,” only briefly wondering what the two had in common, then continued on to scan the recipes since that’s what life is all about, right? All that olive oil and garlic…potatoes and rice. I love Spanish food. But I missed the point the article was making about the connection between the two celebrities — the premier of a 13-part series called Spain…On the Road Again.
I have found out that at least in San Diego, PBS is running the series in the middle of the night, so have set my DVR and begun to live vicariously through the Foodie Foursome which includes Mark Bittman and a lovely Spanish actress I’ve not seen before, Claudia Bassols. Evidently, there was no specific route planned for the trip which was originally a “guys only” event. Instead, the purpose was to travel from one place to the next enjoying locally produced meat, fish, and vegetables, to sample local wines, and to enjoy the traditional dishes of each region. Oh, to be cruising through Spain in a caravan of expensive German cars. Actually, just cruising through Spain would be fine with me since it’s been decades that I was there. The countryside is gorgeous, and the cooking featured on the show seriously simple. I’m loving the entire experience. In fact, I’ve ordered the book, Spain: A Culinary Road Trip by Mario Batali with Gwyneth Paltrow, just so I could sample some of the al fresco meals made during the trip. Since my Penelope Casas’ La Cocina de Mama has been getting quite the workout lately, it’s about time I add something new.
Recently, we had meatballs and I’m left wondering why I never had meatballs when we lived in Spain.
There were meatballs?
Had I only known how delicious these particular meatballs were…
The best laid plans to pre-write posts for publication while we’re on vacation in Italy did not come to fruition. It figures! There was just too much going on. The big dilemma will be whether I actually remember the recipes of all those photos I now have on my hard drive. I know you understand, because your hard drive most likely looks the same as mine. Okay, so maybe not quite as bad.
Anyway, my heart was in the right place. I’ll be back in two weeks, with ideas for new recipes, and stories of the food we enjoyed while we were traveling.