Monday, December 23, 2013

Not an "Appetite for Destruction" nor is it "Eat, Love, Pray"

Paul Moeschell's Pope Soap and Candle
It's been a very busy time in my life.  It's kind of like turning soil to get the oxygen back into it.  I decided to update this blog with a visual representation of things I have been involved with or acquiring sans the philosophies I tend to regurgitate here.
My Hippie Self

Also I would like to thank the 40,000 global visitors to my little world.  I tend to think of myself as a global citizen, since I have walked down some of your streets, been in your valleys and have seen some of your mountain tops.  By no means am I done exploring.
Chicken Chausser, Rice Pilaf and Glazed Carrots
 This summer, I decided to return to school, to do something I love, for the benefit of others.  I am in culinary school, doing well, and I thought I would share some of the things I am learning.  As one of the chefs shared with me, "you must learn the rules---then you can break them."  How many things does this proverb apply to?  Countless.  At least for me, I found a number of times in my life where I followed everything to the letter only to scrap all of the 'rules'.

Winter Approaches
It's winter.  It's Christmastime.  It's the end of a year where you shouldn't really ever look back, but look at where you are right now in order to see where you will be in the future, and ahem, not really so damn much about the future IF you are happy doing what you are DOING right now.  The future does take care of itself.  I didn't get that  for a long time.  I was so damn busy planning my life, I don't think I was really living my life.  The consequences, well, I may have slept through about 17 years of my life.  Maybe that's a bit harsh, but when I think about it, I may have been operating on auto-pilot for a bit there.  A living coma where one day bled into the other and I forgot how to live.  There were so many promises I made to myself that I almost forgot about them.  (I know, good for me...yadda, yadda, yadda).

Primal pork cuts

A nice transition point, just doesn't seem to be found.  There was a lot of taking dead animals, processing them into beautiful meals to nourish others.  I had been a practicing vegetarian, most of my time abroad.  I started thinking about life, death, the way we deal with death as a culture and how we tend to judge others by what we eat.  Everything has life.  Everything dies.  We sometimes have different experiences that take us into  different experiences.

Gnocchi and Pork


Dinner at French Meadow


Brussel Sprouts


Lapin with Risotto 

Liver and Onions

There I was, eating meat again.  I made the decision before I went to culinary school.  However, there was a difference in my approach.  I held a deeper respect for what I was consuming, whether it was plant or animal.  Their lives were sustaining mine and made me think of how we all sustain each other.  It's a very intricate system of life/death.  It made me a lot less judgmental, yet, that doesn't lessen the need for us to be more respectful  and balanced in our utilization of our resources, no matter what they are.  Some people eat the way they do for a reason or a season.  They change for a variety of reasons they came into on their own.  We all own our decisions, live with the consequences and go from there.  If we really tried to please everyone, we please no one, not even our fragile little ego is horribly damaged by catering to others.

So I came into this experience, telling myself, "I know  nothing."  I ate everything, even things I would have never dreamt of ever eating again.  

It was a slaughter of indulgences.  However, I was careful to keep track of how much I was eating.  And it was A  LOT OF FOOD.

To be fair, I did give a lot away because I did listen to my body and cut myself off before that critical explosive point.
Veal Blanquette

First Avenue
Complete emptiness 
Mayor R.T. Rybak's Farewell Bash
Chastity Brown

In the midst of all of this creating and replicating I was discovering all of the rules I wanted to break in the future.

I was really learning about was our bodies have for wants and needs.  Like realizing we really do need protein and there are things that animals to give our bodies to help them heal.

I also had the pleasure of meeting a local Minnesota Folk Singer, Chastity Brown.  I actually didn't really know who she was when I met her, which is good.  We had a nice conversation about literature, words and Ernest Hemingway.  I was talking about myself, which more about my excitement about being home and how bizarre it seemed to me.  It's kind of like waking up from a coma, though I was away for 23 years, my friends are older, the places have changed with time and I wasn't here to see it all.

First USA Edition Acquired
Chastity was gracious and patient as she listened to me quote Hemingway's theory of life, as being a "moveable feast".  Perhaps  there is a certain bit of gluttony on my part.  The same kind that Henry Miller had about life, wanting to experience the zealousness of the eternal moment.  In any event, I am glad I discovered the music of Chastity Brown.  I liked what I heard, she uses and choses words well and has a powerful voice.  It's authentic.

So much great food

 So  as I go through the pictures of some of my culinary productions from this year, I pinch myself because I have never worked in a professional kitchen and I realized that not once did I say to myself, "I can't do this."

Perhaps I said to myself, "don't know a damn thing."  When I realized I wasn't the expert I was able to do by 'not doing'.  "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."  -- Socrates                  
Writing Again
So, after all, of what I could, or should, or would be doing is right in front of me.  Lessons or no lessons.  The action of inaction was my teacher during these wonderful months of learning how NOT to know it all, and meeting a lot of wonderful people along the way.  It's a break for a season.  In the depths of the cold snows of Minnesota, where life is just waiting under the surface to be reborn.  
Looking forward by looking at my present

That really is why I love being here.  You witness rebirth every year.  A clean slate for the world.  Isn't that beautiful?