Monday, March 14, 2011

Old Friends and Great Food

Twice a year we have the great fortune to be able to travel and spend some quality time with our closest friends and family. Each trip is always overscheduled with outings, events and activities, but consistently many of my fondest memories are of the moments centered around friends and food. It is around food that we all come together. Time catching up with our friends, hearing the stories of their growing children, their work and their lives is spent around the table with great food and drink at hand. The times that I value the most are those that evolve organically where friends bring their favorite dishes and we are free to move about and the kids are free to disappear into a play room for a while. Or, even better are the times when the act of sharing food with friends is a closer, more connected act of two people gathered around great bread, cheeses, summer sausage and lots of wine (or maybe an improvised Hot Toddy).

Sometimes the experience goes far beyond the act of simply eating and becomes a short immersion in a different way of eating, a different mode of preparation, a different set of culinary traditions. This past trip I had the great fortune to spent time with my longtime friend Jeff who never fails to amaze me with not only his hospitality, but his deep passion for food. Jeff is not the type to wear his food passions on his sleeve, rather his is a natural organic mental and physical appetite for great food, its growth and its production. This last trip I walked around his new home in awe, coveting the massive garden and pantry shelves loaded with homemade salsas, pickled vegetables and much more. I also happened to be visiting on a day when Vat, Jeff’s wife was busy preparing hand-cut noodles for a party she was going to later in the day. With amazing speed and grace Vat moved from raw materials to beautifully cut noodles – allowing me to watch and shoot a few images as she worked. It is truly sad that there is half a continent between us these days, but luckily we still have the ability to reconnect, spend time together and share some great food and memories.

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