Lately, my life has been anything but slow. I started working full time in late January, and for the first month or more, I was able to keep this blog going with fairly regular posts. The job demand has since grown and my energies outside that frame have spread thin. Add in back to back weekends dedicated to the career (more coming in the next few weeks), an upswing in business from my Etsy shop, and big life decisions, like buying a house, has let this blog dwindle to a random spattering of posts. "I really don't understand why you can't do it all," my mother said, a distinct note of snark in her voice. She knows I'm sincereley trying to figure out how to do it all, because there's so little I'm easily willing to sacrifice.
One of the things I have sacrificed without much lament - and this may surprise you, disappoint you, or make you question my intentions for Pig&Vine in the first place - is cooking. Cooking takes time, especially the sort of dishes I like to eat and write about, dishes worthy of long, slow indulgence. Most weeknight evenings I find myself almost disinterested in food. I'm tired and feel pulled in too many directions to warrant spending an hour or more in the kitchen, and then another hour or more at the table. It was never the cooking I enjoyed so much as the eating, anyway.
I'm not sure cutting back on meal time is such a bad thing. Great art requires diligent practice and tremendous patience. The great things are appreciated when you aren't at risk of taking them for granted. I haven't yet had the opportunity to miss long, slow meals, and isn't missing an important element in what often leads us to make the decisions we make? I miss my family, so I will visit them, or move closer. I miss swimming laps, so I will make time to get back to the pool. I miss quiet Saturday nights sipping wine and watching movies, so I will celebrate when the youngest child finally moves out. I miss my children, so I will invite them to move back home and stay forever. I miss eating real food, so I will spend the weekend slow cooking.
There is an art to slow eating, and I don't mean slow chewing, small bites and paced consumption that's supposedly better for your health. Not to brag, but I'm a naturally slow eater. Everyone says so. I'm talking about the slow eating that involves slow conversation, which is an art all itself. I learned this art as a child around our dinning room table, where we took every evening meal. My father was the slowest eater you've ever laid eyes on, and it's safe to say, he set the pace. We ate in courses; iceberg lettuce with peeled tomato and blue cheese dressing; then the main meal of meat, rice or potato, and vegetable; and finally, dessert, which was usually two Oreo or Milano cookies, unless there was pound cake or cookies from Grandmother's kitchen. Dinner could easily last two hours and conversation was central. I enjoyed listening to my parents talk about adult things, often medical cases. Even if I couldn't understand the language or significance of what they were saying, I felt I was a part of the experience.
When I first moved to New York I became a waitress. It was not a glamorous job, though I managed to work in some of the city's most prominent and popular eateries, acquiring an expensive taste for high brow cuisine and an affinity for excellent wine. That led me to a career in selling wine, where an expense account and visiting winemakers and importers kept me well fed and well educated in the art of eating well.
For the past four years I've dedicated much of my time to preparing and eating with my family and friends. Through it I've become a much better cook and enjoyed many great conversatons and heard many great stories.
This is my longish way of saying, I have not abandoned the art of slow eating, or slow cooking. I'm simply dedicating more time to speed workouts, if you will. I'm hurrying through bits of my life - I honestly don't know where April has gone - with the distinct impresson those less frequent slow parts will grow in value and meaning.