Cook. Eat. Slowly. With Friends.

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photo credit: Kara Gash

Newly discovered quote:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood, and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery (author of The Little Prince)

The eight of us that gathered for our inaugural Fern Creek Cooking Class had a lesson in longing. We did the Slow Food Movement proud–spending two hours cooking with mostly local ingredients and another hour plus savoring supper with local wine.  Italy inspired our meal–which seems appropriate given that the Slow Food Movement started there.

Six people joined culinary expert Terrie Boehr and me for an adventure in cooking and supping. Terrie walked us through the recipes and then demonstrated fancy dicing techniques like brunoise (small dice) and chiffonaide (finely sliced–as in sage leaves) which I can only spell because Terrie wrote them into the recipes.

We divided into clusters. Two people crafted the pasta, another whipped up the butternut squash filling and then moved over to assemble the bruschetta, two peeled, sliced and diced apples and then assembled a strudel and then chopped greens for braising. Somewhere in the organized disorder, the minestrone soup also came into being.

photo by Kara Gash

photo by Kara Gash

The work in the kitchen flowed surprisingly seamlessly. Whoever needed help in the moment received it, sometimes requested, more often because someone noticed.

I don’t know what I enjoyed most–the anticipation of this event and all the planning and preparing for it with Terrie, the actual cooking (with eight bodies dancing around my kitchen!), or the culmination of it over our shared meal. Maybe trying to choose between them overlooks the importance of the whole of it, and diminishes any part as being somehow inferior to some other part.

I savored it all.

My friend, Allison, speaks of lovingkindness in her master’s thesis as she weaves together connections between land, place, and community, and Wendell Berry says, “It all turns on affection,” when talking about hope-filled change, and the wellbeing of our future.

Affection emerged last night–a shared experience that included an appreciation for ethical, local, and seasonal food, and for one another as expressed in the preparation and serving of a shared meal. This slow cooking and eating also works as a metaphor for the ways people nurture each other, Earth, and work at different tasks for the collective good, accomplishing something life-giving and beautiful at the end of the day, giving us all a glimpse of the endless immensity of the sea.

 

9 Comments

  • I would LOVE to be part of something like this!

    • I’m thinking before long Terrie and I could keep as busy as we want running these classes! This one we opened to our CSA members, but I could let you know about the next one–which will be early in December and will likely focus on making hors d’oeuvres, in time for holiday cooking…

  • If it’s open, I would love to try to sign up, too!

    PS the “checking my humanness” by way of math makes me nervous… you’re married to my Statistics professor…

    • We haven’t gotten that far yet, but I’m thinking I should see if Terrie is up for doing two of these… It would be great fun to have you in a class! I know what you mean about the checking your humanness thing. I’m trying to limit spam, but a lot of non-humans seem to sneak by anyway!

  • I feel great affection for this post. I am never happier than when my friends and I are cooking together. I hope this cooking/eating/cleaning up (people always forget that part!) becomes a regular Thing for you!

    • Me, too! By the responses I’m getting maybe lots of people wish they had more opportunities to cook and eat together–and maybe clean up together, too!

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