Monday, February 8, 2010

Olives


I’ve become a foodie. *sigh* You see us in the market--we’re actually sorting through the green onions…people wonder why. We debate over tomatoes, compare squash. The evil eye has been shown in the bakery. Seriously though, have you not just sat back and marveled at the wave, the surge....the tsunami of rebirth in the world of the edible? Once you begin to follow that lovely yellow train of thought (permeated with lemon zest and grated ginger) you could nearly bathe in the ocean of culinary programming. The food network couples with the world of PBS member weekends lavishing granny's biscuits and church picnic endorphin euphoria. TLC satisfies your quick urges with Weeknight Meals and Bourdain makes one absolutely yearn for lovely crispy pieces of porkish delight. Julie and Julia brought us to tears. Rachael Ray perks up your dreary afternoons while Tyler's Ultimate adds inches in theory alone. All the while, desire begins to burn....

Why settle for ordinary burgers with imitation american--when gorgonzola filled patties of ground steak mountained with crispy onion fries await thee? The promise of gastronomical heaven is just around the corner....do you see it? Just there...beyond the tuna helper and oodles of noodles....

My waist has grown. As has my dream of an Italian wine tour with me in a long, empire white dress, hair flowing down my back...my eyelashes make shadows on my cheeks as I glance over my glass of sangria....um.....ahem. Where was I? Oh yes. The cost of my food addiction. My family has had meals covered in cheeses they cannot pronounce. I have gone grocery shopping with a list of 27 things and come home with 42. All because Ina said potato salad had to have fresh dill....and pickles...and homemade mayo. And lemon zest. I have scandalized the PTA with chili and anise biscotti at the "Spirit" bakesale...and flaunted my fabulously empty trays as I SOLD OUT before their brownies were half gone. I have experimented with scrod.

I find this rediscovery freakishly aligned to our nation's return to the indigenous. The authentic. I felt this realignment of the universe far before the economic shift so please don't plead poor...it's too real for that. I think there is simply a vacancy left from years of fast food and microwavable wonders. We actually feel a space....a vacuum as we dispose of plastic wrappers and cardboard “heating sleeves.” It's not simply taste bud gratification--but the realization that ultimate satisfaction has a direct and undeniable correlation to investment.

Such is love.

As we travel this life, sometimes slogging--dragging our exhausted limbs through the dust of decisions regretted....sometimes plunging headlong into the glorious clouds that fill a sky of golden promise and bliss...we voyage. We love. I love. I love my husband, my children...the smell of greenhouses. I love poetry and techno; whiskey, freshly painted toenails, and cheese.

I love olives.

Life is a bowl of olives....you can eat it simply, or crammed with decadent dairy delight....soaked in spirits, sliced over salads, baked into bread and meat and fish....and every way. Every time. Is delicious. However, beware the ignorant one who snatches such a thing from the vine...bitter sour venom will be their reward. So is recompensed the gentle hand that gathers...sifts, sorts, washes and dries. The hand that saturates in lovely oils and herbs, folding the fruit in layers of luscious flavor for time to fill with magic...the bounty that awaits is splendid indeed.

Such is love.

Could the resurgence of our savory obsession be connected with the disintegration of our impermeable hearts? Which turned out to not be so resilient. We wrestle with independence even as we ache to belong. The contradiction and conflict that riddle our decisions is nearly overwhelming. 60 hour work weeks, 24/7 child care, instant food, abated sleep, short hand lives. Quality is better than quantity....and then. The realization that two days in Belize is not even close to nine eating hot dogs and listening to the crickets while you count the stars. That "date nights" can never fully replace weekday snuggles and toddler-interrupted scrabble games. Dried herbs will never taste the same as fresh...especially those that grew slowly...on the porch next to the daisies, drenched in sunshine and surrounded by laughter.

No matter how it's frosted or glazed, life is better done slowly. Slow roasted. Slow kisses. Microwave a love affair and I'll show you a pending divorce. "Just add hot water" to freeze dried parenthood and weep...as the canyon between child and parent gapes wider. There is no instant life.

And so I cook. I research how to draw the essence from a lobster broth...and from my husband's heart. I seek answers to why my milk curdled too quickly or the quiche was dry. I seek for hours to understand my sons…their dreams, their hopes. The television raves over faster, easier, cheaper....when the result is exactly that. Fast, easy & cheap. Not worth a damn.

Today, tonight...hug longer. Kiss slower. As you simmer soup, roast the potatoes....marinate and blend and grill...write recipes for life. For honesty. No lies, not even small ones. No short cuts. Kindness plus admiration mixed with encouragement equals marvelous success. Love without intimacy and vulnerability is like chicken without rosemary...soup without marrow....martinis without olives.

With the passion that we are rediscovering our most organic of delights....may we look at each other. The hunger...the appetite. May we take the time to cultivate, weed, harvest, and savor the relationships that give life itself meaning.

Love is like olives. Fancy, plain, in the morning or late in the night....they're absolutely splendid.

15 comments:

Susan Erickson said...

Now that's a great post...I commented on Maeve's site. You're cooking!

Aunt Juicebox said...

Delicious post! I also love food, there is nothing I won't try at least once!

Chantel said...

Susan--Thank you!

Aunt Juicy--(love that name) I totally agree, do you ever watch Anthony Bourdain as he travels the world and eats? I want his job!

Danielle said...

Yummy! That is all!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Oh my, lots to think about there!

Tgoette said...

Wow! You are such a gourmand! So cool! I love good food too...to my detriment in fact. Great post!

Robin said...

Oooh.. so many metaphors...like a glorious banquet of culinary treats and defeats...perfect for the menu of life...Im soooo hungry right now...I found you through Lee...the Queen...Im a new follower ..Have a delicious day..!

Chantel said...

Danielle--adore you.

Bliss--lol...dag girl, can you tell me how to stop my brain? Take a holiday?

Tom--oh, the cheese adds inches to us all...*sigh*

Robin--wonderful to meet you--Lee is...well, the Queen! lol Delish right back!

Irish Gumbo said...

So it is written,
So it shall be,
For ever and ever,
AMEN.

Testimony out there!

Which remind me...my olive supply is perilously low, and I'll be snowed in tomorrow. Pity, really.

(Luscious post, my dear!)

annagain66 said...

You are so talented. So gifted. Your words are such a treat to read. Never stop.

I'm hungry

SupahMommy said...

OMG i'm totally screwed. I hate olives !! What now???? HURRY! Give me another chance!

lol

Gorgonzola filled patties.
Um.. yummmmay
xoxo
supah

Fragrant Liar said...

That post makes me hungry (and lonely!). My favorite olive concoction is Mediterranean salsa. Mmmmmmmmmmmm!

Chantel said...

Irish--never get snowed in without olives, terrifying.

Ann--writing that makes one hungry--the ultimate compliment!

Supah--ummmm...cheese, definitely cheese. Gorgonzola, smoked, peppered, sharp, mild, melted... (now, I'm drooling)

Fragant--mediterranean salsa sounds amazing!

~Shelley~ said...

LOVE olives! I make the best homemade olive tapenade!!

Visiting from "Friday Follow"..I'm your newest follower! Love for you to come visit me!

Have a great weekend!
~Shelley @ Shelley's Swag

Lyra said...

Hi Chantel, visiting your site as you suggested, you are a marvelous writer, what a great turn of phrase! I'm adding you to my blog roll.