Monday, December 25, 2006

Peasant Food

Nothing exorcises the spectre of hunger like the rough crustiness of peasant food. It's the same everywhere. Sure, the ingredients change from continent to continent. In the Americas, south of the equator, a poor farmer's table may serve hand-flattened tortillas with rice and beans. In Japan, you might find fresh caught sushi with mamasan's homemade rice balls. On the sun-scorched shores of the Mediterranean, hungry families feast of flat bread, lamb meat and baba ganoush...

It is the chunk-cut nature of the flavorful finger food that defines the fare. It is the home-grown boldness generations-old recipes. Inspired choices dictated by scarcity, served on grandma's wooden platters. It is farm-freshness, or fish still cold from the sea.

And so I sat, Sunday at noon, the girls of the house napping soundly down the hall. I was left to my own devices for lunch, and not eager to be ambitious.

A crisp green Granny Smith was first in hand, followed by the blocky remainder of a smoked Gouda wheel. Half a day-old baguette was fetched from the fridge, and I finally opened the briny jar of pickled herring. Lunch was eaten from the cutting board with no more utensil than a paring knife. Rain fell hard against the windows. The fire was warm, but the dark winter beer was cold.

14 comments:

  1. I would wholeheartedly agree - truly, the best of times, and the best of meals.

    When recently in Italy, some of the best things that stand out - stopping by a locals bar/restaurant with a hot/cold selection of foods - pulling up to some torn sourdough, some cheese, some salami, and some oil and vinegar.

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  2. My family loves "carpet picnics" an actual throw back to dinners with Mr and Mrs G & T before they were Mr and Mrs. MMMMMM....devil's paste. Ask the Mrs to post the recipe.

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  3. The panty10:29 AM

    I don't like cottage cheese.

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  4. What a coincidence!?
    Brian's favorite video from that "special" section was called "Carpet Picnics" - but I don't think it had anything to do with ...er... nevermind.....

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  5. ohmigawd. aren't you supposed to be in a movie theater or something? dork....

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  6. Just as soon as I finish up with the animal sacrifice...

    Merry Kwanzmikah to all...

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  7. Why is everything is reduced to to toilet humor?

    Anyway, this Blog and Princess Leah's comments remind me of picnics with my grandparents. We should have more picnic. There is something special about eating on a blanket away from our usual spot. My favorite picnics were rice balls with Teriyaki beef or fried chicken. Whenever I think of picnics I think of my grandparents. I think I will always associate my grandparents with 'picnics' for the rest of my life.

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  8. Damn straight. More picnics!

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  9. Don't put your bread in the fridge.

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  10. Mrs. G&T10:30 AM

    I can't post the devil paste recipe, because it is a secret that I cannot share with Brian. I will, however, share it with anyone other than Brian who asks.

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  11. You ate Gouda... therefore, you rule.

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  12. oh yeah, i remember now why Bri doesn't know the recipe. hee hee. sometimes i SO want to tell him.

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  13. What the hell is devil paste?

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  14. Mrs. G&T1:27 PM

    Nothing, sweetie, go bill more.

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Be compelling.

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