Tuesday, January 17, 2012

candlelit dinner & quotidiana

i'm a bit of an evangelist about family eating and cooking. though i am a hapless housekeeper and a moth-eaten mother, one thing i've been pretty consistent about for many years is cooking for and eating with my family. i've tried to spread the good news about the benefits of doing this this to my students, and have been teaching and writing on the subject for years.

today in my writing about food class, we visited the cheese monger at the local market and bought a selection of cheeses for a cheese tasting, and my copy of michael pollan's food rules: an eater's manual arrived in the mail today.


i ran into two cool new magazines/journals/websites espousing some of my favorite ideas about how we can have healthier emotional, physical, spiritual, and aesthetic lives by eating and cooking together more: kinfolk and walkin kitchen. if you like those, you might also want to check out alimentum.

last food class, we brainstormed ideas for improving our family food culture. one idea that appealed to all of us was the candlelit dinner as an every day occurrence, especially in winter time.

a lot of pollan's rules are no-brainers, and one of the effects and intended purposes of his book is that when you read some of them, like only eat food that will eventually rot or only eat food cooked by humans you become startled at the strange state of our food culture.

but the two rules that spoke to me today, and fit in best with what julie and i are trying to do with our blog are these: #76--place a bouquet of flowers on the table and everything will taste twice as good and #78--eat with other people as often as you can. i love things that take into account that most of our lives are humdrum, daily events that we do to keep alive, and then go ahead and transform the quotidian into something more beautiful, special, tasty, lovely, sexy, interesting or even a little more complicated. today was about that for me.

how can this day be a little more special? i love to hear what other people do to make this happen in their daily lives--put on a great pair of tights? listen to music? take a bath? eat chocolate? go for a walk? read poetry? i spent a lot of years trying to make big changes, and mostly failed. now i'm working on the small ones.

today's inspiration: eat your dinner, no matter what it is, with someone else & some candles or flowers. music doesn't hurt, either.

tights: grey, with cork wedge sandals. ingrid highly disapproves of tights with sandals, but they give me a little frisson because when i was 12 i was allowed to wear my first pair of nude hose (l'eggs, in the egg shaped container) with a pair of naturalizer wedge sandals (wine colored). that went along with permission to shave my legs, wear make-up, and attend young women's. it was thrilling. i remembered this whilst watching 9 to 5 last weekend--jane, lily, and dolly all wore an open-toed shoe paired with nude hose. in every single scene.

p.s. speaking of quotidian, check out patrick madden's book quotidiana. his love for the everyday is inspired. i think you'd like it.


  1. I have a tawny, orangey-yellow pillar candle that is secretly electric, and I light at least it, and usually some real candles, at each and every eating opportunity. In fact, I light it when I'm sipping camomile tea whilst doing readings for class, or facebooking (as I am now). It makes me feel wonderful.

    For dinner tonight, inspire by the color of the candle: ginger, carrot, and miso soup from the Smitten Kitchen, roasted brussels sprouts. Snow day tomorrow--xoxox

  2. That last comment, by the way, was from me, accidentally signed in as Greg.

  3. that rocks! wish i was there, binge watching some awesome show whilst snowed in. thx for being such a faithful commenter, btw.

  4. Btw, I love tights with sandals. I wear opaque tights with a pair of platform sandals. i don't know how to be more stylish than that.

  5. I've been wearing my platform open-toed thick-strapped sandals (Target Dolce Vita) with tights quite often lately. And how could I not comment? So inspired!

  6. also, marni, you are the queen of the small daily dose of fun. i got the idea from you, hon.