Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Slow Life

Grace and I have been having a discussion of sorts about the slow life, something we all wish we had, something many of us strive for, but something few of us attain. The slow life includes slow food, that's where you buy ingredients and make your own meals instead of buying prepared foods and especially fast foods. It includes slow clothing, where you make your own clothes instead of buying ready-made clothing that is often produced in sweat shops around the world. I suggested that we add slow music to the list. That's where you spend hours and days and weeks, months, and years of your life learning to play a musical instrument so that you can make your own music for entertainment. Here are some of my attempts to slow things down for myself.

The low-carb diet that I adhere to is definitely slow food I have to admit. It really helps to stay with the diet if you can do your own cooking. Last week I made a Pot-au-feu that took a whole afternoon to make but was out-of-this-world delicious. It could have taken longer, but I adapted the recipe to my needs which meant leaving out some of the ingredients. I just finished the last of the broth last night; I didn't want to waste one drop! The recipe came from a very slow-food cookbook, Lulu's Proven├žal Table by Richard Olney. The Lulu of the title is Lucie Tempier Peyraud, the wife of a French vintner, Lucian Peyraud and co-owner of Domaine Tempier, a vineyard and dwelling "nestled in the hillsides outside the neighboring fishing ports of Bandol and Sanary, some ten miles from Toulon and thirty miles from Marseilles."

A Pot-au-feu is basically a stew and includes several different kinds of meats. I made mine with some of my grass-fed beef and marrow bones that I bought last year when my daughter and I purchased a split side of beef from a California rancher. I love the instructions in the recipe that call for "freshly dug carrots." Apparently, Lulu can tell the difference. I did the best I could with carrots freshly bought from the Farmer's Market. Of course I added no potatoes and used no bread on which to spread the marrow. I love to eat marrow with a small spoon right out of the bone. The secret ingredient in the broth is a tangy white wine not red.

Knitting is definitely slow clothing especially, when it takes a whole year to produce a sweater! I have finished the back of Anya, but will have to put it aside for awhile as I will be travelling the next month and as I said in my earlier post on Anya, it is not a take-along project. So I have started something new which is definitely a take-along project, the Helon Dress from Rowan's newest magazine, No. 43 for Spring/Summer. This is an entirely crocheted dress, something I haven't done much of in years.

Crocheting makes me think of my mother who was so fond of it. She was constantly making something for someone right up until the day she died. In fact, she left a tablecloth unfinished for we don't know who. The mystery was never solved, so my sister finished the work and kept it. She says it helped her work through her grief. Interestingly, my sister is left-handed, my mother was not. Since the tablecloth was a work in the round, my sister had to reverse the direction and go the other way. She says she can knit both ways but never learned to crochet with her right hand.

I haven't really gotten off topic with all of this, it just made me think of when my mother, my sister, and I used to make all of our own clothing whether sewed, knitted or crocheted. Both my sister and I have pretty much stopped doing that. We don't have the time, or at least we don't think we have the time. My knitting is a hobby not a necessity. And sadly neither of us has taught our daughters the techniques so the skills will not be passed on.

Lastly, there's slow music. I get plenty of that. Grace, whose interests vary far and wide, came up with a link to a NY Times article on the subject. I have printed this piece out to give to all my adult students. It's never too late to learn to play an instrument and enjoy the benefits of slow music!

1 comment:

  1. I remember my first time of grass fed beef. Rich in flavor. The beef came from my wifes family.

    Being a beef lover but poor student, I had been fortunate to have a whole freezer full with grass fed beef to cook and experiment with from our family.

    I have cooked out of cookbooks since I was seven years old. In all these years I never had meat that was that nice.

    I recently launched Beef Sup'Herb, where customers can beef up their diet and stay healthy too!

    Having cooked with grass fed beef for the past 2 years, I really have to consider writing a Grass Fed Beef Cookbook.