Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fantastic February

Ordinarily, February is one of those dud months. Drags by. But this year its just been one party after another. It began really with our Superbowl Junk Food holiday. We hosted two exchange students for the night for an authentic American evening curled up in front of the boob Tube, with a big dog in your lap. Our guests are from China, which does not really have a Dog Tradition. Our pooches managed to win them over. And they loved our Junk Food Buffet. Big contest for Best Advertising.
Then it was Chinese New Year, with nice healthy dumplings and fortune fish, rushing right into Greek Food Night(could NOT manage a canadian menu) in honor of the Opening of Olympics (another night around the telly, maybe not so good to be couch potatoes WATCHING athletes)

All those Olympics shined a light on our house sport of speedskating, and there were some 5 am ice times for tv promotions that kind of scrambled my head. We are NOT morning people. But it sure makes the snowy cold grey days of winter speed by in a kind of fatigued blur. Oh, don't let me forget Valentines Day which turned into a film festival with a lot of red dye staining the counters when we made our first red velvet cakes. Think I will pass on that one next year. Many doilies died for our loves.

Next up: Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez, and we beaded up, donned our masks, and went over to Dixie to celebrate Mardi Gras where I got my yearly Hurricane and hubby cracked off a tooth under a crown, so we could add going to the dentist to the to do list. Boo Hoo. Jambalaya is hard to eat on one side of your mouth.

Funny moment the next day. My son thought they put HOT ASHES on your head for Ash Wednesday. He felt sorry for everyone with smudges. "Thats gotta hurt" he said......

And FINALLY an opera in the house--so rehearsals ate up another batch of winter doldrums. You will completely regret it if you don't see Damnation of Faust. Hot show. But its really funny to look at our daily calender and see DAMNATION on the to do list.

We are coming in to the final stretch of the busiest February on record, with a Shakespearean competition, then the final race of the speedskating season where WE are the hosts and finally PURIM. I will reprise my annual role of Esther and have tea with the small ones at Ye Olde Preschool. Haman Taschen---mmmmmmmm.

You can hibernate through winter, or OverActivate. Planning on getting organized in March--putting the costumes away and unblocking my Chi. May you survive the snowstorms and SAD. Spring is coming, you just can't tell.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Slow Food

Yesterday, in a bit of stealth political work, I dragged one of my children and a girlfriend to the Annual Meeting of Slow Food Chicago. I had heard about the slow food movement years ago, and have been a practitioner (without being a zealot) for as long as we have owned land in Michigan. Once you have eaten produce lovingly harvested by your neighbor, the farmer, there is no going back. I have this philosophy that says that breaking bread is the fundamental act of civilization, and though,in practicality, I fall short of my ideals, I remain committed to mealtime as a sacred moment. In our house, slow food might be genetic--I have at least one child who was born a Slow Food devotee---even as a baby, this one did not eat, she dined.
I have been slipping Slow Food concepts into my programs (a practice which often makes me the laughing stock of my staff) for the last two years. But when you are prosyletizing to the unconverted, one must be subtle and kind. And hauling my compatriots to an hour long power point presentation was underlined by the heart of the movement, Food, which is always the way to make a convert. The Food. Artisanal cheeses that were Happiness on your tastebuds. And honey that was sunshine and summer on the tongue. Jasmine tea that warmed my soul. Slow food might be a part of my spiritual and religious identity--we are, truly, what we eat, and when what you eat is so unbelieveably beautiful, it makes you have faith in higher powers. I have come to want to "infect" the public education system with Slow Food. I think if kids sat together and dined, it would forge a community spirit like nothing else. Can growing and eating food be educational? I was reading some student reflections on a local garden and it makes me think that there may be no more authentic lesson plan than to grow and consume your own food. In incorporates literacy, math, science, social studies, and something so lacking in the world of youth today: connectedness.
So today, for me, choose something beautiful and delicious for a meal. Eat it slowly and mindfully. And find pleasure in this most basic act.