At a weekly tea break, my co-workers and I had a light bulb moment. We're all so obsessed with food, why not read a light-hearted food-themed book for the book group? Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes was floated around. Done!
We had to have food, right? I don't know if the book wasn't an excuse to eat all this! All supplied by our host: grapes, organic olives, and bread. All that was missing was a picnic blanket and outdoor setting. After a long workday, we settled for a conference room, where we overlooked skyscrapers, but dreamt of rolling hills and lush vineyards.
My biggest struggle (and that of many trying to pursue a vegan lifestyle): cheese. I wish I could say I have will-power, but in communal settings like this, I don't. I hope vegan cheese improves - fast. I can't relate when vegans say they don't miss anything (and think they are lying).
A Toscana wine, and my book (thank you library!) A co-worker surprised us with the charming mini ceramic planter keepsakes that say "Tuscany." In the book, Mayes talks about how they repair ceramic planters with wires. Not tossing something broken away but repairing it - what a refreshing thought!
She references twice disparaging remarks from tourists - one about her husband's car (saying they think he'd drive something nicer), another about Mayes' house (that the tourist's house is much bigger). Such a typical attitude - and one I cannot understand - that bigger is better, and that brands are everything.
While there are endless gems in the book, I want to share with you my favorite passage, which so many of us can relate to:
"Time--that's what it takes for the slow tomato sauce, stirred until reduced to an essential taste of summer sun, for tying lavender in bunches and hanging them from beams to dry, for learning the imperfect tense, for checking the reddening of pomegranates every day as they ripen, ripping open the leathery skin to reveal the juicy red hive within, sprinkling the fruit over a salad of field greens and toasted walnuts. Living well in time means taking back time from the slave-masters - obligations, appointments, the dreary round of details that attack like leeches in a stagnant pond. During intense periods of work, restoration projects, family crises, health scares, I want to wake up at first light, pull on hiking books, and set off for an hour while the birds are still practicing their doxologies.
Wasted hours-they are mine; I meant to use them before they slipped through the hourglass."
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