They sat together comfortably at a long table in the vineyard under the trees. The slight breeze was not menacing but sweet and lifted the warm air so that the scents of flowers all around could be inhaled. Grapes hung heavy on the vines and the birds sang sweetly. Friends laughed and poured another glass of wine. Shared plates circled the table and the hours went by with companionship, rest, and food. Crispy baguettes and fresh olive oil that taste of hay and summer. Sliced ripe tomatoes and salty mozzarella……
These are the kind of things I read. I read book after book of travel and ‘moving to Europe’ memoirs and drool incessantly over the pages then go back to my farm kitchen and do dishes. The people in my books never do dishes. They just eat. It is amazing I am not a larger woman as I think I am perhaps part hobbit and love to eat…often. My favorite memoirs take place in Europe because they do something that we here in America don’t do. Rest. On a workday. With wine. In the middle of the day. Can I get an amen?
I grew up on peanut butter and jelly or cheese sandwiches with chips and two small cookies. Packed in my Muppets lunch box with a thermos of kool aide, lunch became less than exciting and to this day I do not eat peanut butter and jelly or cheese sandwiches! When my kids were little, packing lunches was my nemesis because they would not just eat sandwiches and my gourmet offerings could only go so far. Still, planning lunches is difficult. I can make the most elaborate dinners in minutes, never repeat a recipe, write book after book filled with delicious dinners but lunches…mais non.
I am doing well this year with my resolutions. I am flossing regularly, doing yoga once a week, taking my daily herbal tinctures, and being nice. I am adding to my list a new lunch routine. I do hope you’ll join me. Too often lunch is a rushed thing. We just weren’t raised with any type of lunch knowledge save for back to back commercials of fast food. So, here is my lunch plan. I started it last week and it is lovely. When I am at the shop, I am rushed so I still have to work on that, but on days I am home doing laundry and cleaning, I am Italian or French…sometimes Spanish.
I prepare “peasant plates” of what my family calls mish mosh. Romantic term; probably won’t make it into any of the books I read. It is a bit of heavenly cheese, crackers, homemade bread, olives, homemade pickles, salad, leftovers, whatever inspires me. Some dates, grapes, or some type of fruit. I get bored very, very easily and one bowl meals make me wander off and forget to finish my food so the variety pleases me.
And now breaking all the rules. I pour myself a half a glass of wine. In the middle of the day. I am tired of self inflicted rules. I am tired of “appropriate”, who the heck made that up, expectations. I did not have a sip of wine or alcohol until I was twenty seven years old. Doug jokes that he drove me to drink. My mother was quite serious and adamant that I would become an alcoholic if I had but one drink. I believed that with all my being and religiously did not imbibe. So when I got married and saw Doug had a beer and did not become an alcoholic I was shocked. So, I had a bit of wine. Lo and behold, I am not an alcoholic and that has taken me years of analyzing how many ounces of wine I put in the glass, how many did I have (usually one or less), how much did I have this week to see if I was becoming one. Though it worked that I did not drink as a teenager or young adult, her plan has set silent boundaries in my head I seek to release. I know my body and I know that a glass at lunch does not make me any less than brilliant. I work much harder after a good rest.
So, great book in hand, dreaming of being in Italy, I read and nibble and sip. Ahh, it is wonderful. When all is said and done, I have only sat for thirty minutes but if feels like a two hour break for my mind and body. When summer comes sneaking in, with all its busyness and tasks, I will sit beneath the Elm tree next to the lilacs and read, nibble, and sip my way to happiness…and maybe a few friends will come by and join me. I’ll work on growing a vineyard.