Tuesday, December 30, 2008
To some people the very concept of dining alone is intolerable. Meals are meant to be shared events—intimate dinners for two, boisterous family gatherings surrounding major life events or holidays, daily meals carved out of the day-to-day fray in order to catch up with your immediate family, lunch with co-workers just to get out of the office for a bit.
But then there are those of us who eat most of our meals on our own, and we rarely give thought to the fact. Don't get me wrong, I love gathering with family and/or friends to share a meal, but dining alone isn't a tragedy. Most of the time, eating alone will simply mean ingesting a meal for nourishment and then getting back into my day, but occasionally I will make a Meal (with an intentional cap M) for one. I'll spend quantities of time planning, shopping, cooking, savoring the fragrance, tasting and consuming a Meal all by myself. It would be lovely to share it, but I won't deny myself the experience of dining just because I sit down to the table alone.
This morning's breakfast was one of those Meals. I'd stopped by the grocery store yesterday, and discovered the rare but delicious Ranier cherry in stock. There were only four bags, and I greedily snatched one up. I brought them home, decanted them into a bowl and rinsed them carefully—not letting a single one drop out of the bowl when I poured out the water. I positioned the bowl containing the rare treasure in the center of an otherwise empty island in the kitchen and spent the day nibbling now and then.
This morning, I put on a fresh pot of hazelnut coffee, pulled a small plate out of the cabinet and placed the last lemon poppy seed muffin on it with A WHOLE HANDFUL of Ranier cherries. This was a Meal worthy of attention and savor, so instead of catching the morning news on the tv while shoving food in my pie hole, I sat down at the dining room table with the day's paper and lingered over each bite of the Meal.
It was because I'd slowed down time and become very mindful of the moment that I was dazzled by, and inspired to draw, the sunny oak in the front yard.
Thanks for stopping by.