Monday, June 27, 2011
Poetry and Food
LIII from One Hundred Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda:
"Here are the bread-the wine-the table-the house:
a man's needs, and a woman's, and a life's.
Peace whirled through and settled in this place:
the common fire burned, to make this light.
Hail to your two hands, which fly and make
their white creations, the singing and the food:
salve! the wholesomeness of your busy feet;
viva! the ballerina who dances with the broom.
Those rugged rivers of water and of threat,
torturous pavilions of the foam,
incendiary hives and reefs: today
they are this respite, your blood in mine,
this path, starry and blue as the night,
this never-ending simple tenderness."
Our wedding was a blast. We've socialized more and eaten out a lot since then. We took some friends and family on a culinary tour of Albany afterward (Ala Shanghai, lunch at Provence, Forbidden Pleasures appetizers and the new summer menu at New World Bistro). We even stopped by a cute little bit quirky cafe in Catskill, NY on our way back from a wedding this past weekend. It was all very fun, but I think I am ready for things to settle down a bit. I actually said to my boss at some point last week that all I really wanted was to be at home and roast a chicken.
The thing is that weddings are a community driven affair. Sure, they are supposed to be about romance, but they are also very public. I remember one day in the winter. It was freezing outside, and I spent the day reading Jonathon Franzen's Freedom. I roasted a whole ton of garlic and made the Cook's Illustrated chicken with forty cloves of garlic. The house smelled amazing. The dinner was great. But more than that, the story of the marriage in the book I found very compelling. People aren't perfect. Marriage is long. There was such a difference in the scenes where the husband was in a cold house by himself, and his wife was there cooking up something hearty and delicious. Of course their marriage wasn't perfect, (and the book wasn't perfect either for that matter), but there was something ultimately inspiring about it. They both had their one person they were supposed to be with, and it didn't matter if it was difficult. To finish reading that book, and then to eat a homemade, hearty dinner in a warm, garlic scented house somehow felt very romantic. On a freezing winter day when I probably hadn't left the house all day, maybe it wasn't exactly a romantic feeling, but a feeling that I was a part of a partnership that would endure. In the same way our Le Creuset pots we got for wedding presents somehow seem like they will be cooking us chickens and stews forever. I love the Le Creuset stuff so much because when I look at them I see the clunky, heavy possibility of decades of shared meals together on cold winter nights.
There is something funny about wrapping up a wedding chock-filled with romantic moments, and really just wishing to do something that a lot of people probably consider a chore. I've touched on the theme before, but somehow to me when I think of marriage I think of roast chicken. I know some people go through wedding withdrawal, but I see it differently. To quote a card one of our friends gave us "The only thing better than looking forward to your wedding is looking forward to the rest of your lives together".