Posted by: Hil | October 26, 2008

A Sunday to Celebrate

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Today was a very special day.  I will explain why this day was so special momentarily.  Regardless, I woke up bright and early and knew that I had to do something to celebrate.  Coincidentally, the husband and I had the day off from our normal singing duties, so we had the morning to ourselves.  The husband took the opportunity to sleep in.  I, on the other hand, stole away to the Sunday farmer’s market.  I knew that I could find some beautiful ingredients for a celebratory meal.  The air was a bit scary looking from all of the wildfires that have been going on in our neck of the woods, but other than that, the market couldn’t have been more perfect.  I couldn’t believe the prices that I got on the greens.  I walked away from one stand with over a pound of arugula, a big bunch of Italian parsley, and a giant bunch of red chard for a total of $4.  I also picked up gorgeous Bartlett pears, persimmons, fresh sage, fresh sheep cheese, a container of the world’s best granola, and a bouquet of pumpkin vines.  And a cup of delicious fair trade coffee to sip while I shopped.  I need to make time to make it to this place again even when I do have singing duties.

I wasn’t very hungry for some reason, so breakfast was just a cup of coffee with half-and-half and a beautiful Bartlett pear.  I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately, and being at the market was so good for me.  It reminded me of all of the beautiful bountiful ingredients that are in season right now.  It made me want to take everything home and race to the kitchen.  I feel so inspired and energized right now.

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When I got home, I managed to rouse the husband with the promise of a nice brunch.  I knew that I wanted to use some of my beautiful greens, so I decided on a red chard frittata.  I took half of my bunch and trimmed and chopped up the leaves.  (I’m saving the stems for later…they are edible, they just have a different cook time.)  I sauteed them with a bit of minced garlic and some olive oil, then added some leftover shredded roasted chicken to the pan.  I added a pat of butter at this stage for flavor and to ensure that my eggs wouldn’t stick.  I poured four beaten eggs into the pan, seasoned with salt and pepper, and let the frittata cook about halfway.  Then I added some freshly grated parmesan and a sprinkle of lowfat mozzarella and finished the frittata under the broiler.  To go with it, I made a simple salad of chopped wild arugula, toasted pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  It was delicious.

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So why the celebration?  Yesterday, the Lemonator and I bought our first kitchen table.  We spent the first year of our marriage eating our meals either at our desks or with plates on our laps as we perched on our futon.  We have a tiny studio apartment,  and we honestly didn’t think we had room for even a small table.  But then we found a great expandable table at Ikea.  And we realized that if we shifted some things around and got rid of a few things, we could make it work.  I am over the moon.

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Yes.  I know.  With all of my talk about making mealtime special, with all of my semi-gourmet aspirations, I spent a year of my life eating food off of my lap.  All of the pictures of the food you have seen?  Some were taken on my tiny balcony to take advantage of the natural light.  The rest were taken with my plate resting on a folding chair. 

Does this make me a hypocrite?  I don’t think so.  This last year, it would have been so easy for me to fall into the habit of eating whatever, of eating mindlessly.  It is incredibly hard to eat in front of a TV or computer (even if they are off) and still pay attention to what you are eating.  The informality of the way that we had to serve food sometimes made it seem less than worth it to fix time-consuming, special dishes.  If you’re going to eat on the couch, why not stick with macaroni and cheese?

I rebelled.  I cooked food from scratch every night.  I bought “fancy” ingredients like goat cheese and smoked salmon.  I fussed over garnishes and presentation.  I started this food blog.  In the end, it was all my way of reminding myself of the importance of mealtime rituals.  And guess what?  It worked.  I am far from perfect, but I have gone an entire year cooking dinner from scratch using fresh whole foods.  I have lost somewhere between 15 and 20 pounds.  I have gained a joy in food that I didn’t know was possible.

I truly believe that you don’t have to have a lot of money to eat well.  I believe that in almost any situation, there are ways to make mealtime special.  If circumstances mean that you can’t change everything all at once, that is okay.  If you don’t have a table, or a farmer’s market, or access to a store that carries Greek yogurt and Ezekiel bread, that is okay.  Work with what you have, learn to cook from scratch, and pay attention to what you are eating.  The rest will work itself out.

When I sat down to brunch today with my husband, I almost cried.  I am almost glad that I had to go a year without a table.  Because now, I don’t think I could ever take for granted what an amazing thing it is to be able to sit down at a special place just for eating and talking and being together with the ones you love.  I am so thankful.  And nothing makes food taste better than a thankful spirit.

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Responses

  1. Aw, Hil! I think I might cry! Your story is so touching that I felt like I was at your new table with you. Hooray for your table!

  2. What a beautiful post! I also love going to the Farmer’s Market, it really does give me a surge of inspiration and energy like nothing else.

    Congrats on your table! So many people take for granted what it means to sit down and enjoy a wonderful meal with the ones you love. I am so glad you can now eat your amazing meals at this special place =]

  3. Congrats!!!

    I’m sure I’ve told you this story before, but when my parents were first married they went a year without a table, too. They had a choice between a kitchen table and a computer, and they only had enough money for one. Obviously, they went with the computer.

    Happy Kitchen Table Day!!!

  4. That Farmer’s Market looks huge and amazing! I love it.

    That’s funny about your table! Imagine what you’ll do now that you have somewhere to sit and enjoy your food!

    Have a good week.

  5. i am so happy for you!! and so full of admiration. i strive to have your mentaity and approach 🙂

  6. LOVE the new table! Yayyyyy! I am the same way- I always prefer lots of great ingredients over fancy plates, fancy decor, etc! I ❤ the farmers market. It feels great to support local farms and to get such amazing prices and products. I need to go back to our local market next weekend.

  7. This post was incredibly touching and full of spirit. I absolutley loved it. 🙂
    Excited to see more of the table! Yay!
    P.S. We are sans table. We do have a kitchen island, but I can’t wait until it’s a good time to buy one. 🙂 Hope our experience is as joyous as yours!

  8. i finally got a table when I moved last month, now I just need to use it! after i put away all the piles… packing/unpacking stinks 😦 lovely brunch!!

  9. p.s. check my blog post!

  10. congrats on getting your first kitchen table!!! i can imagine how exciting that must be… hope you enjoyed your special meal 🙂

  11. Aw, you’re so very right Hil… your first and new dining table is most definitely a reason to celebrate! I’m so glad that you’re really able to go full circle with your eating for health and pleasure now that you have a place to enjoy it alongside your Lemonator. Congratulations 🙂

  12. […] was our very first dinner at our new table!  I made Thanksgiving cannelini beans and swiss chard two […]

  13. Nice!

  14. […] have a teapot.  This is possibly the biggest news around here since I bought a table a few weeks back.  I found it on sale at a local thrift shop and I adore it.  It is cast iron […]


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