Ok, I am going to try and pull together a few strands that are in my head. At the moment, as I stare at this blank page, it feels like a whole lot of spaghetti with no sauce flopping around inside my nut, but hopefully, I will try and make some sense of it all.
Context: The Pasta.
Anthony Bourdain was one of my heroes, and I absolutely loved what he accomplished with his travel/food show. He brought the world into our living rooms. He shared real people, real food and genuine emotional opinion with us as he travelled to places we would never have heard about if it wasn’t for him. He was honest and wholesome with the people he met. He always reflected deeply about the things that impacted upon the surroundings in which he found himself. He was a sad loss, and he made an impression on the world. That counts a lot if you ask me.
Scottish Comedian Billy Connolly is a hero for most Scots. In my opinion, his travel shows were up there with the best of them. Again, pulling the genius out of the people that he met with authentic and curious questions. He had a courageousness about his journeys, and his comedy and opinion flourished across the show so that it made it all that bit more interesting – especially his comment on Trump Tower… search it on Youtube, well said that man.
Charles Spiegelman is no longer with us as he passed on at a very young age, leaving a beautiful family behind. Charles died of cancer, and I knew Charles through my brothers family in the States. I did not know that much of Charles, but I carry a very fond memory of him in my head, and it reminds me to take things in life a lot less seriously and slow down. You see, when I met Charles, he was a toddler, and he was learning to eat more grown-up food. In the process of learning to eat his food, he was not always taking the time to chew his food correctly – something I remember from my own childhood. So the summer weeks that I spent in the States with my brother, we all became toddler sitters. It became a catchphrase for us all to say, “Charles, chew your food”, and so, Charles would comically chew his food as his whole head moved in unison with his mouth. It was one of these simple moments that happen in life, but it seems to have stuck, deeply rooted, in my memory. I appreciate the time that I had with the toddler Charles and wish I knew him as an adult. He left an impact on me and the guiding principle – Chew your food. (slow down in life)
I also know a Chef that can tell from a finished dish what order the ingredients had gone into the meal, and I know a couple of female friends that said ‘feck this‘ and went off-piste and toured the world. They shared extraordinary pictures of the places they saw and the people they had met as they went globe-hopping. It is funny, I had no male friends that did that – just saying like, but I think there is something deeper in that thought. To this day, I am envious of their accomplishments and the bravery they demonstrated. South America seemed a heap of a crazy place to travel through… but what did I know back then.
Like I said initially, there is a lot of spaghetti in this short story, so stick with it as here comes some of the sauce.
My Weekend: The Sauce
I went out on Friday evening with a couple of great friends, and I had fantastic food, but I ate it all too quickly. These guys have travelled the world with their work and can share stories that are full of rich learnings and deep insight. Stories of challenge, tales of fun and inspiration, and they have a trail of friends from all over the world. That is what I would call living a good life. The food, as always, was great, but I still think I am missing something when it comes to appreciating what I am eating. I got the listening part down, and I will forever be in awe of the great people I am privileged to meet, but I need to better understand food.
Stanley Tucci is on CNN doing an excellent travel show around Italy. I am impressed by his approach with people, his respect for Italy. I like how he tackles the travel subject of the deeper meaning of food from the communities he visits. He also has a great style which I am jealous of. I wish I could carry off wearing a pair of white jeans the way he does. But then I am from Glasgow and have a dumb-ass curiosity. He is from Italy/America. He has that Italian style and swagger. I also have a middle-aged daddy belly spread pushing the holes on my Marks and Spencer belt – so there is that.
I was watching Stanley Tucci while doing something on the iPad when I had been reminded by my other half that we had a buffet meal booked at a nice hotel and that I was to get my ass in gear – and get ready! I had two minds to call it off and see if we could move it to another day. But I didn’t. I went with the plan and pushed myself to get ready. We went the Metro route to the hotel, and we got caught in the rain, so sh*t happens. Anyway, we got to the hotel and tucked into the buffet. The food was great, and there was everything you could think of asking for, so I pigged out. I went full olympian and ate the food like I was in a one hundred meter race…
I wish I hadn’t done that as it pained my stomach later, and then as I lay that night, reflecting on what I ate, how I enjoyed it and what could have caused the pain, I realised. No one thing caused it – the culprit was volume. As for trying to remember what I tasted and how I enjoyed it, I had a challenge in recalling.
My learning from this weekend’s experience is that I do need to do the food thing better. I am not sure what that means, but I will think more profound about my relationship with food – I used to see it as nothing more than fuel, now it is time to change that.
A Reflection: The Parmesan
Sometimes you have to push yourself to do different things because you never know who and what you might experience. You have to slow down in life and enjoy it more and when it comes to appreciating the food that you eat. You just gotta chew that food, slow down and taste it with all of your mouths. (as the Chef would say – meaning the mouth in your mind)
“You have to eat that food for real, using all of your senses, all of them.”
I am learning to appreciate food more – but I have a long way to go.