Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chez Jacques: Inspirational

I just spent my wonderful afternoon off from school looking through "Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook"  I love this cookbook.  I think it's probably my favorite of all.  It isn't about the recipes, although the ones I've tried are definitely fantastic.  It's really about the deep love of food, how food infuses life and makes it richer.  The pictures in the book aren't just of food but paintings which Jacques has painted (not only is he one of the most accomplished chefs in the world but a good painter) and pictures of him spending time in his environment.  These last are the pictures I love the best.  One shows him sitting with a friend by a stream with some wine and a picnic.  They have the wine bottles tied up in the stream and their feet dangling over the edge and it just looks so peaceful and comforting.  I would love to spend a day by a stream with a friend, great food, and some chilled wine.

The pictures demonstrate a concept that I've been thinking about a lot myself lately - how food, friendship, culture, family, and the environment all intertwine to enrich life.  It makes me want to go out and hunt mushrooms in the woods, or sit on a lake by myself and fish, or cook comforting French food with my husband.  It also makes me wish that American life was less stressful and more about the things I mentioned above.  We spend so much time running around, working, stressing out, and don't devote the time needed to create deep friendships, to become close with our family, to enjoy nature, or to really taste our food.

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