Monday, June 10, 2013


Yesterday at lunch, a group of friends and I raised a glass to the day’s clear skies and sunshine, greeting summer weather and basking in its warmth. We were eating sticky rice, marinated chicken hot from the charcoal grill, asparagus ditto, lightly dressed local salad greens, and a trio of made-by-my friends Thai dipping sauces as side-condiments. And we were eating with our hands, most of us, sensually and happily.

But alas we were prematurely optimistic, for today we’re back to drizzle and chill. The garden is happy, I suppose, in its greeness, but the cool temperatures are holding back the basil and chiles and eggplants, which still look a little shell-shocked even two full weeks after being transplanted. We tend, here in eastern Canada, to bemoan the fact that we have a very short spring season and leap straight from chilly into summer heat. This year is the great corrective, more like English spring than our usual, and lasting several months for a change. Perhaps this means that asparagus season will be extended, and salad greens will going on being tender for longer, rather than being heated into tough and bitter leaves by intense heat. The trick is to look for the side-benefits, right?

I wrote last week that old friends of mine were going to throw an engagement party at my house last Saturday and that I hoped for cool weather so the peonies could stay fresh until the party. Well I perhaps wished too hard, for we had very cold weather all week. But one happy consequence was what I’d hoped for: the two ancient peony bushes in my back garden are still in full aromatic white and pink bloom, spalshy against the bright green of ferns.

The engagement party was huge, and a huge success, for the weather gods smiled, the catering, by Dawn and Ed of Evelyn’s Crackers, was spectacular (all Thai, a lot of it vegan-friendly; the beef and chicken were locally sourced), the DJ’ing (two turntables, the works) by Ben Rothberg was astonishing and wonderful, and everyone was feeling celebratory, and happy to reconnect with the huge network of friends and family of the bride-to-be. Whew! The dancing went on until three… I owe my neighbours big-time for their patience.

A side-bonus to all the work of party prep is that my house is wonderfully clean and organised. There’s nothing like a deadline (and an obligation owed to someone else, rather than just to oneself) for getting chores done well and thoroughly. I feel spring-cleaned to the max.

And I’m also feeling a little wiped out today, as I try to gather my thoughts after the intensities of the week and the weekend. Time seems to be flying by suddenly. I have only two more classes to teach of Foods that Changed the World (I’ll miss the class; it’s been great); right after the last class comes the summer solstice; soon after that I leave to go to the Oxford Symposium, a huge treat; and by the time it’s over we’ll be well into July…  I find that when I’m tired my thoughts tend to rush ahead to anticipate, and when they do, time telescopes so that I feel the days rushing past beneath my feet dizzyingly. It’s not a useful way to feel.

The solution I’ve discovered is to retreat to the age-old technique of making lists, by hand, with a pen or pencil, on a piece of paper. It slows down that rushing forward, anchors me in the present, and generally makes me more realistic and calm. I think I’m due for another session of list-making!

1 comment:

Mardi Michels said...

Naomi, I am a huge list-maker too. In my crazy life where I sometimes wear multiple hats in the space of a day (teacher, food blogger, business owner), the thing that grounds me is my Rhodia notepad with my lists carefully written out and hopefully being able to cross some of those things off the list each day. Or, you know, transferring them to the following page… ;) I have loved your class this term too!