THE ART OF ITALIAN DINING
THE last two weeks have been filled with joy, good food and as always lots of cooking.
Between a bite and a sip of wine, Thanksgiving was a wonderful occasion to bring all my amazing friends
together,around the same table, enjoying each other’s company, laughing, smiling and sharing stories.
Creating memories, loving moments.
Moments in time…that’s all we know about. That’s what it’s all about…. just moments in time. Everything we experience is a moment in time. Our finest moments… our worst moments… our boring and sublime moments. They are all tiny segments of the continuum of life. Every photograph… every memorable song… every great holiday… every unforgettable meeting…. they are all moments in time. We see a thousand faces a day… but occasionally we turn and glance at a face… a seemingly extraordinary face… looking at us. It’s a split second glance… which can sometimes lead to eternal love or a lasting memory.
A split second in time… an unforgettable moment.The human brain is an amazing instrument… so amazing that we have not even scratched the surface of it’s potential. Through all of our senses it captures and stores these moments in time. It has them neatly tucked away and when the right stimulus comes along… it serves us with a “vivid memory” that can be so powerful…at times so overwhelming… that we feel like we are experiencing that “moment in time” all over again. It can make you smile… it can make you frown… it can make you sad… or it can make your day. It is one of the most powerful forces known.
But for the brain to capture and store… it needs to feel that it is “worth capturing”… that it is indeed a special moment.
This will only happen if we are open to appreciating these moments… if we are allowing ourselves the sheer pleasure of savoring the special moments. In most cases we are so damned busy “planning” and “scheming” that we forget to enjoy the moment. We forget that right now is all we have. The future hasn’t happened and yet and the past is history. Right now is what it’s about… and unless you have the presence of mind to realize that… the right now will also become history. Nothing but a blurred memory because we didn’t take the time to enjoy it as it was happening…in real time. We didn’t seize the moment.
I have been cooking for a while now. Most of the time clients ask me for dishes that evocate to them special moments. Often, I made those dishes hundreds of times that I could cook them with my eyes closed. Yet, I am aware that each time is different, the premises are different, and so is the environment, so are the people who are going to eat and nourish their bodies with what my hands and mind had created.
This is the beauty of cooking. You need to be aware of where you are, who you are and where you want to go in order to create something with balance. To me, every time is the first time.
As I advance my career I am no less sensitive to “moments”. My sense of presence is acute… and I try very hard to not let familiarity dull my senses. When I travel back home to Florence I still glance at my Tuscan hills as if it’s the first time. When I spend time with the people I love, I still do it as if it’s the first time. When I make fresh pasta like my mom thought me, I still do that as if it’s the first time.
The moment you realize that it’s all about moments in time… you start to see things differently. You appreciate the moment….you realize that it IS a fleeting moment and you may never see/experience it again. You stop assuming about life… that things will still be there later, or the next day or the next year or the year after that.
They might… but YOU might not.
“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life.” – Federico Fellini