High Quality Simplicity by Marilyn
There are places that I frequent because of the attraction I have not only for the place but for the people related to it. At my favorite wine bar the attraction is equally to the place and the two owners. There is something very satisfying about seeing an attractive man pour me a glass of wine while I gaze at a giant replica of the Mona Lisa. This wine bar is overall beautiful, simple and charming. It seems like every detail had enough attention for itself. The location, the decor, the food, and the owners “tienen duende,” they have soul.
I had the pleasure of having brunch with a friend last weekend and I got to choose the place. I chose this gem, where I was guaranteed to see one of two stellar men, if one is not there the other one is sure to be there (I do have my favorite however). They each have their unique qualities that makes them beautiful. Their differences compliment each other and makes their own unique attractiveness stand out. Because life loves me, they were both there this day. Since I got there thirty minutes earlier than the agreed time, I had time to people watch (watching the two of them counts as people watching). I admired the way they worked together. They were in tuned with each other, as not to be in each others way when working, they were delicate with their food, paid attention to detail, and warm and sweet with their mannerisms and their words, not only to customers but within themselves. I watched them bring out their food with confidence and satisfaction yet still humble. I was trying not to stare but I was so intrigued by this dance of food preparation, partnership, aesthetics and confidence, I just had to stare.
Luckily my friend arrived before they noticed and my focus shifted to her and our conversation. But when they brought out our food I couldn’t help but pause and acknowledge the natural beauty of the meal. And to think “wow they prepared this.” There was a simplicity that was so stunning about my brunch of toast, jam and butter. Maybe the quality of the ingredients? High quality ingredients are usually more simple and more raw. I was able to taste each ingredient because there weren’t many of them. The bread was perfect, the butter was just enough and the jam was stunning. I was able to eat mindfully because all the flavors were allowing me to savor and appreciate them individually and all together.
It made me think of life. Maybe I need a break from complexity. Maybe I need simplicity right now. What if I allow myself to be that simple? What if I begin to view my emotions as high quality ingredients that are simple, natural, and raw? After all, they are the ingredients of my being.
Tenderness in the Hands by Joanna
There have been many men in my life who have promised to cook for me, men who have offered to make me their specialty. A carne asada, a homemade salsa, mom’s favorite dish… yet I have found it difficult to get a man in the kitchen. Even as I think of my ex, I can’t remember anything he might of cooked… actually that’s a lie. He used to make pasta with slow cooked turkey sauce, topped with fresh parmesan and accompanied by fresh bread that we would dip into virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. He would kindly make this for me whenever I would come home late and have it ready for me on the table. In fact now that I think of it, he was always very thoughtful with food. He would buy me avocados and hummus and little things I liked to munch on just to keep me happy.
As I reflect I have had a number of offerings from the men in my life. I recently went on a hike with a man who brought crisp juicy apples for us to share. This same man packed snacks and treats for us to keep us happy on a long drive. I remember watching him fix a simple turkey sandwich, opening up the soft bread and packing it with lunch meat. The simplicity of it was so beautiful and his lovely gesture is still appreciated. Then of course there is my father who would always cook for me. He always made sure I had something to eat and knew if I was in a mood to feed me something subdue my crankiness. He would make some strange combination of whatever was in the fridge or whatever he thought might taste good. I remember being offered buttered toast sprinkled with sugar; Sardines in tomato sauce with steamed rice; fried eggs and spam; or white bread and liverwurst sandwiches. It sounds a little unappetizing but in all honesty the man tried. To this day I still think of beach days with my dad and those famous liverwurst and beach sand sandwiches.
It’s funny some of the most renowned chefs in the world are men, my most revered food heroes are men, yet we don’t associate food or cooking or the kitchen with men, it’s usually just the profession. It’s a societal and cultural thing, one that needs to be broken. Tenderness can be found in the hands of anyone, male or female and cooking and sharing food is just another way we show love and respect for one another and that certainly shouldn’t be bound by gender.