Monday, May 10, 2010

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Sometimes I like it when the weather dictates my schedule. This was the case at Man Camp when the rain forced me inside my cramped tent on a Saturday morning.

At first I wasn't happy with this arrangement. I wanted the rain to stop, and the first hour in tent was torturous. Every 3 minutes my daughter interrupted my reading and asked, "Dad, when is it going to stop raining?"

Eventually, we embraced the rain and cramped became cozy. I used that time to read Mr. Ron Rash's book of short stories titled Burning Bright and the Oxford American's food issue. My daughter doodled and read from one of her favorite books.

In this calm I read a paragraph that struck a chord with me. It's from an article in the Oxford American titled "The Southern Strawberry: Liquid Rubies" by Marianne Gingher:
In lieu of odes, our foodie ancestors created the jar-size museum and invented preserves so that lovers of short-season perishables could enjoy the palate'sequivalent of instant replay. To Make preserves heirloom quality, you need to work as deliberately at the task as divining water. My own patient grandmother concocted a strawberry condiment so like a jar of jewels that we children called it liquid rubies." She discovered that making small batches and not stirring the berries while they simmer produced a lucid, red-gold syrup that fattened and embalmed the fruit. This was my grandmother who had no talent for scramble. She could lean on a windowsill for hours, watching an inchworm's progress; the dreamy to and fro of darning a sock pleased her. Although her languid habits infuriated my grandfather, they made her an excellent cook. Watching sugar and strawberries percolate, feeling the rope syrup gather weight on her spoon, my grandmother tilted her face into the lush, promissory steam unraveling from her jam pot like genies rubbed from lamps.
This reminded me of one of the reasons I cook. Cooking provides me with a model of how to live. Slowly. Deliberately. Doing small things well.
take care,

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