i read a sweet story by brett martin in GQ on his meeting with chef jacques pepin at a low moment in his life. it illustrates the powerful healing capacity of sharing a meal and it's worth the long read. i also watched the great netflix series chef's table, which tells the story of 6 world-famous chefs. very inspiring and i burned through the six episodes far too quickly. all of this got me thinking about memorable meals. many of them came before the age of instagram and the incessant documentation and sharing of every plate, so they linger in the echoes of laughter of remembered conversations, the clink of glassware, the memory of garlicky tenderness of the cubes of beef at that tapas place in manila, the way my eyes welled up with tears at the deliciousness of the walnut-encrusted shark filet at the linn street cafe in iowa city, those foie gras pops so good we ordered a second round for dessert at elan in nyc, the time my sister licked limoncello off the table at that italian place at serendra in manila (hmm, the food must be good in manila).
we are so bound to food and so often we eat it mindlessly rather than thoughtfully, simply fueling our bodies because we have to instead of fueling our souls because we should. i go in streaks here at home, at times more conscious (read: creative) about what we have for dinner and other times being stuck in a rut of the same omelettes and BLTs. but again and again i return to the feeling that most of my moments of conscious happiness and contentment are spent in the kitchen; i feel better about everything when i'm cooking.
it's easier to be creative in the kitchen in the summer, when produce is delicious and abundant. when i can step out into the garden and pick strawberries for a sorbet or shortcake or broad beans for a hummus, or asparagus for a risotto. it is deeply satisfying to make our dinner from our own garden. and while our summer meals can bit one-ingredient intensive during the short time when asparagus or those broad beans are in season, there's just something about eating those things only when they're here that makes my soul sing. we appreciate them so much more because they are fleeting and they become so intertwined with long summer evenings in the garden. they're the food that memories are made of.
what are you eating this summer?
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speaking of food, did you know that personal gardens at russian dachas produce 40% of the food that's consumed in russia? and there are also people like rené redzepi of noma who are thinking about food and using local producers.
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