The simple act of honouring one’s need for time and space, between the competing parts of our day, is age old.
by Katie Peterson, from T Magazine, April 3, 2014 (read by the poet)
The eye is the lamp of the body so I tried
to make a world where all I ate was light. Butterflies
complete a similar labor in the summer
garden, beating their wings slowly like a healthy
person, the kind of person who runs for fun, could
run from an attacker, eats greens in the same
quantity as the salty meats the storytelling part
of us appears to favor. I couldn’t decide
whether I wanted to stay alive or wanted to go
faster, they appeared to contradict each other, I tried
in all I did to eat light. I left the argument
about the difference between a slave and a servant
on the table though I think what I think is that
consent to servitude is as much a fiction as a butterfly
having a nervous breakdown because of the beauty
of the lavender. The longer your hunger takes
to find a shape the longer you can hold it. Consider the butterfly,
only at rest in the middle of consumption, but even
then practicing for departure, for disappearance,
closing in the middle of the landscape.
Trying to manage a world in which all you eat
is light is difficult. Labor, and the lungs should be like wings
of the butterfly beating, closing, slowly, the moonlight
tensing the edge of each, almost lifting the edge of each
towards the middle distance. So all that I consume
can make me healthy, illuminate my throat
and the interstate of my digestive tract
with what a butterfly’s been swimming in.
I bought a dollar and a half's worth of small red potatoes,
took them home, boiled them in their jackets
and ate them for dinner with a little butter and salt.
Then I walked through the dried fields
on the edge of town. In middle June the light
hung on in the dark furrows at my feet,
and in the mountain oaks overhead the birds
were gathering for the night, the jays and mockers
squawking back and forth, the finches still darting
into the dusty light. The woman who sold me
the potatoes was from Poland; she was someone
out of my childhood in a pink spangled sweater and sunglasses
praising the perfection of all her fruits and vegetables
at the road-side stand and urging me to taste
even the pale, raw sweet corn trucked all the way,
she swore, from New Jersey. "Eat, eat" she said,
"Even if you don't I'll say you did."
you know all your life. They are so simple and true
they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme,
they must be laid on the table beside the salt shaker,
the glass of water, the absence of light gathering
in the shadows of picture frames, they must be
naked and alone, they must stand for themselves.
My friend Henri and I arrived at this together in 1965
before I went away, before he began to kill himself,
and the two of us to betray our love. Can you taste
what I'm saying? It is onions or potatoes, a pinch
of simple salt, the wealth of melting butter, it is obvious,
it stays in the back of your throat like a truth
you never uttered because the time was always wrong,
it stays there for the rest of your life, unspoken,
made of that dirt we call earth, the metal we call salt,
in a form we have no words for, and you live on it.
"In learning how to make bread for this film we had to get use to how the process drove our day, leaving us only increments of time to do other things. After a few batches we embraced it, getting those little things done that never seemed to find their way into our schedule. Books were read, letters written, house tidied. All which felt just as much a part of the recipe as adding water and kneading dough."
Why Do Sandwiches Taste Better When Someone Else Makes Them?
by Daniel Kahneman, The New York Times Magazine, October 2, 2011
When you make your own sandwich, you anticipate its taste as you're working on it. And when you think of a particular food for a while, you become less hungry for it later. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, for example, found that imagining eating M&Ms makes you eat fewer of them. It's a kind of specific satiation, just as most people find room for dessert when they couldn't have another bite of their steak. The sandwich that another person prepares is not "preconsumed" in the same way.
Excerpt from “Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges,” by Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times, Feb. 28, 2011:
Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?
That simple question is the basis for a burgeoning new area of psychological research called self-compassion — how kindly people view themselves. People who find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, it turns out, often score surprisingly low on self-compassion tests, berating themselves for perceived failures like being overweight or not exercising.
The research suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Preliminary data suggest that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat and may help some people lose weight.
This idea does seem at odds with the advice dispensed by many doctors and self-help books, which suggest that willpower and self-discipline are the keys to better health. But Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field, says self-compassion is not to be confused with self-indulgence or lower standards.
“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent,” said Dr. Neff, an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin. “They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”
“I think of flavor the way a painter thinks of color. Ice cream is a blank canvas for flavor, filling your nose and mouth as it melts. Food is an art form to be experienced.”
Pre-order Jeni’s debut cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, which is being published by Artisan this spring. In it, she reveals secrets for recreating many of her signature flavors using a modestly priced automatic ice cream maker.
Matt made the homemade version of Jeni's Lemon-Blueberry Frozen Yogurt in our new automatic ice cream maker. He even used fresh local blueberries from the farmers market. It tastes just like what everyone around here stands in line to eat!
Maybe instead of a book club we have an ice cream social with everyone bringing their attempts at one of these flavors:
“Last month, a few of us went on a field trip to Jorgensen Farm. There, we visited Val Jorgensen, our peppermint farmer. She showed us her green house and the field of Robert Mitchum peppermint we use to flavor our Backyard Mint ice cream. We got to visit with her chickens and sheep and clip some lavender to take home with us.”
Excerpt from “Dysregulation Nation,” by Judith Warner, New York Times Sunday Magazine (June 20, 2010):
In the late 1970s, the historian Christopher Lasch famously described America as a culture of narcissism. Today we might well be called a nation of dysregulation. The signs that something is amiss in our inner mechanisms of control and restraint are everywhere. Eating disorders, “in general a disorder of self-regulation,” according to Darlene M. Atkins, director of the Eating Disorders Clinic at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, grew epidemic in the past few decades, and in recent years have spread to minority communities, younger girls, older women and boys and men too. Obesity is viewed in many cases by mental-health experts as another form of self-dysregulation:a “pathologically intense drive for food consumption” akin to drug addiction, in the words of Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Charles P. O’Brien, a professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, who have argued for including some forms of obesity as a mental disorder in the coming version of the psychiatric bible, the DSM-V.
In book publishing, addiction memoirs seem to have evolved into the bildungsromans of our time, their broad popularity suggesting that stories of self-destruction through excess can be counted upon to inspire a reliable there-but-for-the-grace-of-God affinity in readers. We read about dopamine fiends sitting enslaved to their screens, their brains hooked on the bursts of pleasure they receive from the ding of each new e-mail message or the arousing flash of a tweet. We see reports of young children so unable to control their behavior that they’re being expelled from preschool. And teenagers who, after years spent gorging on instant gratification (too-easy presents from eager-to-please parents, the thrill of the fast-changing screen), are restless, demanding, easily bored and said to be suffering from a plague of insatiability.
Mental-health professionals report seeing increasing numbers of kids who are all out of sync: they can’t sustain attention, regulate their rage, moderate their pain, tolerate normal types of sensory input. Some of this is biological; a problem of faulty brain wiring. But many of the problems — in both children and adults — according to Peter C. Whybrow, director of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California in Los Angeles, come from living in a culture of excess.
Under normal circumstances, the emotional, reward-seeking, selfish, “myopic” part of our brain is checked and balanced in its desirous cravings by our powers of cognition — our awareness of the consequences, say, of eating too much or spending too much. But after decades of never-before-seen levels of affluence and endless messages promoting instant gratification, Whybrow says, this self-regulatory system has been knocked out of whack. The “orgy of self-indulgence” that spread in our land of no-money-down mortgages, he wrote in his 2005 book, “American Mania: When More Is Not Enough,” has disturbed the “ancient mechanisms that sustain our physical and mental balance.”
My grandfather got up early to section grapefruit.
I know because I got up quietly to watch.
He was tall. His hairless shins stuck out
below his bathrobe, down to leather slippers.
The house was quiet, sun just up, ticking of
the grandfather clock tall in the corner.
The grapefruit were always sectioned just so,
nestled in clear nubbled bowls used
for nothing else, with half a maraschino
centered bleeding slowly into
soft pale triangles of fruit.
It was special grapefruit, Indian River,
not to be had back home.
Doves cooed outside and the last night-breeze
rustled the palms against the eaves.
He turned to see me, pale light flashing
off his glasses
I remember as I work my knife along the
membrane separating sections.
It's dawn. The doves and palms are far away.
I don't use cherries anymore.
The clock is digital
and no one is watching.
[More by Ted McMahon from The Writer’s Almanac.]
Excerpt from “Apples, Apples, Apples,” by Verlyn Klinkenborg, New York Times, November 5, 2009:
One good way to think about modern agriculture is to think about apples. For part of our history, culminating around the end of the 19th century, there was something about us — about our appetite, our farms, our economy — that loved diversity in apples. One standard reference, from 1905, lists more than 6,500 distinct varieties. There are apples for keeping, cooking, eating and the making of ciders, with names as colorful as they are various: Scollop Gillyflower, Red Winter Pearmain, Kansas Keeper.
Modern agriculture, as well as our carefully created preference for processed over fresh food, has pushed us in the opposite direction, toward uniformity...According to one estimate, only 11 varieties make up 90 percent of all the apples sold in this country, and Red Delicious alone counts for nearly half of that...
We live now in the world of the generic apple, in large part because our taste buds have gone generic. Cultivating ourselves is the first step toward rediversifying the fields and orchards around us.
“What my grandmother and my mother imbued in me was a love of food. And a sense of the joy of food, a firm conviction that food mattered, and that food was a vehicle for pleasure. In my case, I sometimes drove that vehicle at about a hundred and thirty miles an hour. And sometimes ended up in a ditch on the side of the road. Though I believe that food is a vehicle of pleasure, and a glorious vehicle at that, I felt like every time someone who’s a recognized food writer wrote a memoir, it was madly romantic, gauzy. And the truth of the matter is, one’s love of food can get out of hand. My story is not only about the joy of food, but also about the danger of food. I wanted to write about disordered food behavior, about food demons, but to not demonize food.”
~ Frank Bruni, discussing his memoir Born Round: The Secrect History of a Full-Time Eater on The Book Bench: The New Yorker (August 19, 2009)
"When we start to pay attention in an intentional and nonjudgmental way, as we do when we cultivate mindfulness, and thus bring ourselves back into the present moment, we are tapping into very deep natural resources of strength, creativity, balance, and yes, wisdom—interior resources that we may never have realized we even possess."
In today's New York Times, Marian Burros writes, "Jeni’s of Columbus, Ohio, has surpassed the creativity of all other ice cream makers with its versions like goat cheese and Cognac fig sauce....Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams’ intense, offbeat flavors would be worth a drive to Ohio. My favorites were the goat cheese, salty caramel, coffee, Thai chili and torrone, plus lime cardamom lingonberry frozen yogurt and forest berry and pear riesling sorbets. Six pints start at $70; jenisicecreams.com, (614) 488-3224."
My favorites are pistachio, pumpkin five spice, dark cocoa mint gelato, and the pear riesling sorbet. You have to try her ice cream sandwiches with a thick slab of ice cream squished between traditional Parisian macaroons. I'm sure they will be world famous one day.
Deadline for ordering in time for Christmas delivery is 12/19.