You need to live authentically, and you can't ignore that.
~last night's fortune cookie
I'm doing a little housekeeping here today: deleting labels, cleaning up more than a few messy old posts and trying to figure out if there's any way to create real categories in which to store various labels (seems Blogger is more about form rather than function unless, anyone can tell me otherwise?), while the sauce simmers in the pot. Literally.
It's quiet in the house and as I sit here at the kitchen island all I hear is the slow simmer of the pasta sauce and the bubbles that rise and spit at its surface. The house is filling with the scent of garlic, tomato, oregano, basil and stewing meats, which prompts me to think of Grandmother, who would often come to our old house to help Mother cook dinner. Meatballs were not made with the pre-packaged trio of ground veal, pork and beef that I can find at the supermarket on any given day. Rather, Grandmother fed slabs of meat through the cast iron meat grinder that was clamped to a heavy butcher block my father had made, and I remember the amount of energy that was exerted and the dark, raised veins of Grandmother's hands as she turned the wooden handled crank.
While rounding globs of seasoned meat between the palms of my hands today, I saw Grandmother's hands. Or at least the beginnings of what one might call work hands. Though I never worked the looms of a mill, or really, a meat grinder (except out of youthful curiosity, when it looked like fun, but it was not, it was work). And it was this work--grinding, weaving, canning, sewing, kneading, hanging clothes out back on taut-rope lines--back breaking work, that Grandmother, and my mother to a large extent, discharged on a daily basis.
We rarely went out to eat. And if we did we did not go out to restaurants like Chez Pascal, where fine and ridiculously good French food and wine are served, an art gallery is found in the side room, and whimsical vignettes starring cheese and miniature four-legged creatures are set out on a dusky pine buffet that serves as a room divider at the entry. And that is fine, for had we my fondest memories may not have been of the home-cooked dinners served in our small dining room, where Mother and Grandmother were the last to sit down.
Authenticity is found in the smallest, and sometimes the most banal, things we do. Daily minutiae. How we execute seemingly mindless chores tells us a lot about who we are. We mustn't forget. I wonder if my mother or grandmother ever even had to remind themselves. It's a pity they didn't have time to write about it while the stew simmered.