Everyday Pleasure

I just finished reading, “Appetite for Life”, biography of Julia Child. Go figure…..I didn’t read it because Julia was a famous cook. The book sort of claimed me when I was browsing through my son’s campus book store. It was the love story between her and Paul, her husband, that drew me. It was wonderful.

The two of them met when both were in the OSS during WWII. They bonded over their love of good food and their seeking of it while they were stationed in various countries. Apparently the American military bases fell short. They took a lot of pleasure not only in food, but in the whole dining experience; good conversation, company, preparation, presentation. God, I love that! “Here, here!”, I want to cry. A woman after my own heart.

During her career, one of her biggest goals was to introduce the pleasure of good food to the American people. She began her career during the time when frozen, canned and packaged foods were gaining popularity to save the “work” of cooking. She disdained the idea that preparing food was “work” to be avoided. It was her pleasure, as it is mine. I totally “get” that. To me, spending an afternoon cooking is one of my greatest joys. I love the act of cooking and the atmosphere it creates in my home. It just seems to make my home more homey. It’s my joy, my pleasure, my relaxation……and yes, I suppose it could be called work as well.

So, when did “work” become a bad thing? Anything worthwhile takes some effort. It’s part of the satisfaction of it, no? To me, the effort of cooking isn’t work, it’s meditation, a feast for my senses, a creative act and relaxing. And, I have to clean up after myself. So what. I shower every morning too.

One of my customers creates a very chaotic life for herself and her family. She has “no time” for anything, though as an outside observer, it’s easy to see ways she could lop off half the running around and just take some time to chill and enjoy the beautiful home she could have – if she decided to. A good start would be to turn off a few of the three separate ringers she has going whenever someone calls the land line. Her cell phone is a loud siren. I kid you not. My stomach knots up when all this starts happening. Please, God, could somebody put on some classical? Or, nothing at all? Peace, give me peace…..

The last time I was there I was dismayed when her husband came home from work saying he hadn’t eaten all day (it was 6:30 pm) and she put tuna on a hamburger bun for him. Her son took a bite. She set the sandwich with the bite out of it in front of him. The daughter was eating microwaved chicken nuggets. The son, nothing. Nobody sat down. Next week I’m going to roast them a few chickens and show her how easy. It will take me 10 minutes to prepare for the oven. It will smell wonderful for hours. There will be something hot and healthy to eat, most likely some leftovers for burritos or pasta the next day…. Voila, instant improvement in quality of life for the price of a chicken. That should be my motto, “Change your life for the price of a chicken!”

I read something every day, my sister has no time. She shops every day, I don’t have time. We have time for anything that matters to us. It’s always a choice. It doesn’t matter what it is. Quality of life is fitting in, and spending time doing, the things that we love, the things that make us feel good. It really has almost nothing to do with how much money you have or how much time you have. We all have 24 hours. Some of the worst life styles I’ve seen are in homes where the income per month is almost as much as I make in a year and one of the parents does not work. This should be an ideal situation. It is not. Quality of life is not about money.

To me, quality of life includes creating warm sounds and smells in my home, good food, healthy living and nice surroundings. It’s not that hard, it just takes a little effort.

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