This new year I am contemplating my relationship with food, family, the natural world around me - and in a phrase, the good food life. Food seems to be the glue for it all, and the common passion that deepens all the connections. Or perhaps the common connection that deepens all the passions!!
My holidays were very sweet this year - and also full of some challenges.
Both my sons, Scott and Harry, were home for the holidays, and we had a new 8-week-old puppy, Arrow, in the house just to make things a bit more interesting and chaotic!
On December 22nd, a severe storm moved through the area with rain, high winds and finally blizzard like conditions, and true to form up here high in the hills of central Vermont, we lost power. Unfortunately we knew it would take our local power coop a while to restore us since we are literally the last house on the line, so we hunkered down, cranked up the woodstove, took trips to the spring house with 5-gallon buckets, and dug up every candle and flashlight in the house.
The quiet was spectacular. Not a device or machine was to be heard, no cell service, no Wi-Fi. The board and card games were brought out of the closets, books taken down from the shelves and suddenly it seemed we had so much time on our hands. So, we cooked, and baked, and ate, and talked and played inside and out. We chased Arrow around rescuing all manner of newly chewed possessions and by 8:00 each night we were exhausted and ready for bed. It is amazing how much our modern conveniences save us time and energy daily!! But more is not necessarily better.
I think you all know my passion around celebrating with food, and there was no chance that a power outage would cancel the holiday feast!! And besides… surely, I thought we would have power back by then…
I must admit – because my sons will tell you if I don’t – I became a bit “testy”! I like things orderly and neat, and slowly but surely – with the added chaos of Arrow – the house organization completely unraveled. So after a bit of a confrontation about my “attitude”
(and their laxness), I apologized. Then true to form, everyone kicked in to bring some semblance of order back to our home.
Now I am not a baker - but much more of a savory cook. However the warmth of the stove, and the candles and holiday mood got me going. Sweet bread, holiday spritzer cookies, Apple Pies, Pumpkin Pies - I was having so much fun!! And the boys were wide eyed with delight!
Christmas Day was sweet… and still without power. Unwrapping gifts by the fire, watching the puppy tear apart the boxes and paper. Then when our guests arrived, there was so much good food, and that is what really made the day. Everything was homemade and filled with love. My grandmother’s home-made stuffing wrapped in a sweet crust, mashed potatoes with leeks and celeriac, sweet potatoes, turkey cooked three different ways by Carley and Craig! and Panettone, German Bundt Cake, and cookies galore from Michelle and Anthony next door. (She’s a professional chef from Montreal!!! Wow so good)
And then the good food and drink sparked conversations that kept us at the table into the early evening. So this is what I call the good food life. It is a kind of magic that happens when family and friends come together around lovingly grown and prepared food. I want more if it in my life and in the world!! And not just on holidays!!!
The power did not return for another 3 days. We were getting really good at making do. Slowing down makes it easier to focus on what is important!!! And this holiday will settle sweetly in my memory for a long time to come. The lack made me more present to each other and all the abundance we have.
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you all. I hope you had as sweet a time as we did this season. I wanted to share our good food life holiday story with all of you because I know you would enjoy it! And I am hoping you will do the same and share your stories with us too. I love stories!!
Please share your good food life stories with me! Send me an email with your story - and let me know if you mind me sharing it - or if this is a personal share for my enjoyment!! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
May food & friendship come together in this new year for you!