Food for Thought

Pleasure may not be the same as happiness (we talked about that a while back), but pleasure can certainly lead to happiness, and one of the greatest pleasures in life is good food.  The happiness in eating may be tied to great taste or to great memories (Proust and his madeleines come to mind).  I love the taste of vinegar, especially vinegar on French fries because some of my happiest memories are of the county fair and my dad buying me paper cones of fries drenched in vinegar.   Plus we have to eat to live, so tying happiness to food, just makes sense.  

So how did you consume happiness this week?

40 thoughts on “Food for Thought

  1. Mmm, good choice for this week. I visited my oldest and dearest friend last night. Her husband happens to have training as a professional chef and he made us an amazing chicken pot pie with the best crust I’ve ever had. He made the top crust into little individual squares so everyone’s servings had crispy edges.

    There was also lots of wine consumed and good conversation. For dessert there were homemade pizzelles and ice cream.

    My parents were there (they call my friend “the other daughter” ;-)) My youngest child is just the right age to play with my friend’s oldest child. My oldest was happy to hang out on the couch with a book. My friend has a toddler who was being very winsome and adorable the whole time. It had all the feeling of a holiday family meal, but one of the nice ones where everyone is happy to see each other and no crockery is thrown 😉

    I wrote it down last night in my journal b/c I want to remember it.

    1. My sister’s friend was at the house so often while she was growing up that my dad started calling her “PD”. When she asked, he said it was for “pseudo daughter”. She replied with her own version – “pseudo dad”. They still call each other that to this day, 40 years later.

  2. Yesterday was a road trip to my great niece’s 4th birthday party. It was at an art party store, where all the kids got to paint and create their own treasures. It was great fun for everyone, and I got my share of hugs and kisses from the kids I’m related to. It was a special treat to see my husband helping the little kids with their activities.

  3. We had our Samhain (Halloween, for you muggles) ritual and feast yesterday, because no one could do it on Wednesday. It has been a rough year, and it was good to get together with my closest friends (and my goddess-children Nate, 10, and Sophie, almost 12, who I adore, and who did a great job with their parts of the ritual). Samhain is considered by many witches to be the our New Year, and we say goodbye to those who’ve lost–between the 2-footed and the 4-footed, it was a very long list for me–and light candles in their honor. It can be very sad and poignant. But then we move on to celebrate the year to come, and used pretty tumbled gemstones to make wishes in a table-top wishing well. (Then the kids got to take the stones home, which made them really happy, because they’re both serious rock junkies, like their goddess-mother.)

    Then came the feast. LOTS of happy there. One friend made ribs, another brought an insanely good chocolate cake, and I made boiled potatoes from my garden with fresh dill and parsley. A meal shared with good friends and family is a pleasure indeed.

  4. I’ve been all about for these last few days. Feeling a fierce need to bake a chocolate cake but not finding the time. Did two pickles and a salmon experiment though.

    My favourite feeling is coming home from the local community market and stocking the fridge. I don’t feel the same way if I go to a high-end retailer even though I might get the same things. There’s just something about getting it cheaper, even though it lacks the cold-chain crispness of a big store. Weird?!

  5. Son came home last night from Europe for a quick visit — in our first nor’easter. I baked him a chocolate birthday cake (his b-day’s in April) and stocked up on bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, and lamb shanks.

    However, my husband and I leave the day after tomorrow for a week in California, so all this fatted calf food has to be eaten or sent with my son to his next stop or frozen.

    So nice to be forced to eat chocolate. I couldn’t bear to throw it away.

  6. Jenny, I have a similar memory with my dad at the fall fair. He’d load up the French fries with vinegar and knew exactly how much salt to put on the fries (too much, lol). Gosh I miss him!

  7. A colleague brought me french fries from a chip truck (a local institution) one day last week – with malt vinegar (my favourite). Not the most nutritious lunch but a yummy guilty pleasure. DH and I attended an outdoor dinner with friends one evening. We sat in a plastic dome and ate excellent seasonal food and enjoyed getting to know each other better. It’s snowing today, so I’m going to spend time in the kitchen making muffins and soup.

  8. My husband bought grass-fed beef hamburger and ciabatta rolls and I made hamburgers for dinner, which I actually do every week or two. But for some reason he opened a bottle of Gigondas and we spent and hour and a half over dinner, chatting and eating our burgers. It was delicious.

    1. I love Gigondas. If you’ve been or have a chance to go to that part of France, the little medieval towns are on top of steep, pointy hills. But I would love the wine even if the setting weren’t so beautiful.

      1. My friend has a place (with 4 other couples) in that area in one of the hill towns. Some of my best memories are sitting on the terrace (flat roof top) and looking out over the valley toward Mt. Ventoux and eating and drinking wine. Fortunately for her but not for me she has lots of family and friends so I only get the occasional invite.

  9. I’ve just had a great conversation with an old friend, who’d changed email address and so hadn’t heard about the house. Had a beautiful walk in the woods earlier: the light was amazing. And I had a very close encounter with a handsome pheasant, who made me laugh by insisting on walking alongside me after I took his picture. He must have had a past life as a dog.

    I’ve loved the enthusiastic responses to my Working Wednesday picture; and the friend who asked me to design her front garden is back from France and delighted with my ideas. So I’m feeling a creative success.

    1. I was amazed by the number of pheasants in Wales and England this past April. Around here in Massachusetts we have turkeys. Several years ago a hen pheasant was seen wandering around aimlessley. A gobble (what’s the collective noun for turkeys? The internet says rafter, gang, or posse) of hen turkeys embraced her and she was seen with them for the next year.

    2. I had a pheasant under my bird feeder for about a month last winter. Fast little bugger–as soon as I grabbed my camera, he or she would scuttle for the underbrush. Still cool, though, even if I don’t have any evidence. Hoping for a return visit this winter.

  10. DS came home to vote yesterday (college is in DC so if he wants his vote to matter it has to be here in MD) and then we fed him his favorite—pasta with a salmon cream sauce. And we watched the first half the ball game before I took him back for his suite’s Halloween party. We had already been to a pumpkin carving party. I had also spent a couple of hours with neighbors attacking the grape vines that are threatening the trees on the sides of tbt creek that runs down our street which was very satisfying—a safe way to take out my fury at the news, saving trees, exercise, friends…and I had already voted Friday so I felt like I had done my bit for the world this weekend.

  11. Fiancé and I celebrate our 7th anniversary today! Which makes me happy. According to the Harry Potter books, 7 is a magic number, so it can’t be anything but good to have achieved this. 🙂 It’s been a crazy ride thus far, but we’re the kickassest team I know. So I’m hoping for at least 70 more years together with this guy. <3
    We've just celebrated it with Greek food. It was AWESOME. The tzatziki. Mmm. I can eat tzatziki with a spoon. 🙂 My guy knows this so he ordered some extra. The love. <3

    Except this I'm not sure about food = happiness. I have such a complicated relation to food. But I do enjoy making it, and having others enjoy it though. 🙂 (And reading about it!)

  12. Had dinner last night in a pub with my EX and the three youngest kiddos. (They are adults now, but still my kids!) We drove north to see our second son sing in his acapella group. It’s a campus group that’s he formed so he’s very proud and this was their first concert. Or at least the first time we’ve seen them in concert, there was a rumor that they actually sang somewhere last spring.

    Then this morning I had breakfast with my eldest who was up to go to homecoming at her college.

    Both meals were lovely and I remembered some of the good things about my ex. (Not that I want him back, I don’t.) They all seem reasonably happy and the son who had such problems in high school and who scared the crap out of me when he didn’t want to live anymore, is thriving. And my youngest who spent the last two years isolating in her room has friends and likes her roommates. She’s actually socializing.

    All of this makes me quite contented.

  13. This week, my 2 sisters-in-law were up to clean out the basement and closets at my in-laws. SO. MUCH. STUFF!! 60+ years worth! But we got to sit and eat and visit several times while they were here. Nothing special, just Mom’s cooking, but it was nice to visit and look at the progress they made.

    (Hubby went over to help, so it was 3 siblings at work. When I offered to come over and pitch in, I was politely told no. I didn’t argue, and just waited til later to show up. 😊)

  14. Sunday. Take the daughter to dinner and shopping day. It’s a weekly tradition by now, years in the making. She’s into keto, so she was up for a good steak dinner. We had errands to run first, so Macy’s for a jacket on sale (She was VERY happy). Then we rendezvoused with one of her friends near Chik-Fil-A (not my landmark, but it worked) so the dotter could pass on a slew (slough?) of 5T clothes to a fellow mother-of-four. We followed that with Michael’s Crafts and Staples, getting not much. Then Target, because Target. I came away with a glass skull with, I think, a Van der Graff generator. The kind where you put a finger on the glass and a tiny lightning bolt goes out to meet it?

    Since we started noonish, it was now approaching three, time to eat. She figured the lines at Long Horn Steakhouse would be short because normally, we start at fourish, and dinner folks are out. Nope. We backed out and went to Outback, passing a Ruby Tuesday because we eat there a lot and she doesn’t want to be identified as “a regular.” Outback had lines longer than Long Horn, so we ended up at Golden Corral.

    She stocked up on salad – they have a good enough salad bar – and mushroom steak and brisquet and baked chicken. I did the same, plus mashed potatoes and brown gravy. Every trip to GC I remember that scene in Manhunting, because if anyone tried to take my mashed potatoes and gravy, I’d stab them with a fork, too.

    No dessert. No room. We finished up the outing with a trip to Walmart, because, Walmart. I picked up the necessaries for my next slow cooker adventure, milk (for those growing grandchildren), trash bags… miscellaneous not much. Just shopping therapy and exercise.

    I hope everyone’s day was at least as satisfying. 🙂

  15. Coconut creme pie – a locally famous recipe (“cocoanut”) – tomato bisque and Champagne on a large front porch while honoring a long-gone merchant and philanthropist whose house attached the porch and in who’s department store Tea Room the delicacies once were served. Over a century ago, Kate Sessions chose the trees on a lawn which stretches to the boundary of Balboa Park.

    My syntax is tortured because I’m post-adrenaline rush, in withdrawal from the excitement of today’s heritage rose gathering. Hugged dear friends from across the country, listened to catch-up stories, and then madly competed for roses in a silent auction. All the roses I love with the people I love. *sigh*

  16. Me? I picked Beautiful Wife up at the airport on Saturday. She’s been out of town at a conference for a week. So the boys and I took her to a sushi restaurant, then home to collapse in peace. This morning I got everybody up to spend a little time on treadmill and and snuggle on the couch while we watched a show that Secondborn picked out. Then there was breakfast, and I played Dungeons and Dragons with the boys while Beautiful Wife got organized for the coming week. Happiness as food? Sure: the boys wanted cinnamon rolls for breakfast, but I hadn’t bought any, so we took out pizza crusts and made cinnamon-butter-sugar pizza, and it was delicious.

    Having the family back together, doing things we enjoy, working as a team: that’s how we’re happiest.

  17. So happy to be home after 8 days away, and got my last big Halloween decorations up before it started drizzling for 2 days. Sister had bought me See’s bridge mix as a welcome home, and it was nice to get back to normal home food, after all that travel food.

  18. The thing about making breakfasts and lunches and dinners for a family (not singlehandedly, we’re an equal labour household) is that you have to work really hard to keep food a joy. It’s worth the effort though.

    The food that makes me happiest though is not the most delicious. My partner usually leaves the house before I get up in the mornings, but every morning I get up to porridge that he makes and leaves for me.

      1. I have one. But I think I’ll keep him. He has always made oatmeal for breakfast most weekdays.

        Once I stopped working and did not leave the house ahead of him (about 35 years ago), he made enough for me too. I buy Bob’s Red Mill (probably just an Oregon thing) organic thick-cut oats from the mill in 25-pound sacks. I get up first, feed the cats, put the dishes away, pour the juice, put water on for coffee, set the table, do my morning puzzles and read Argh. As soon as his shower is done, I go take mine. During which he is making oatmeal (It takes about 20 – 25 minutes) and preparing some fresh fruit (berries in summer, pears in the fall, grapefruit until the berries come in season again). Then we have breakfast. Five days a week, every week, unless we are away from home. We have become become those set-in-their-routine old people. But after we got over the angst involved in the first 10/15 years of marriage and being young, are we enjoying life.

  19. It’s just hit strawberry season in New Zealand, they’re still a little woody but chopped strawberries and french vanilla ice-cream is wonderful (and strawberry puree and soda/icecream brings back some very fond childhood memories).

  20. I spent this past weekend at a quilting retreat with 53 other quilters. It was a lovely time working on many projects, which I’ll link to on working Wednesday. It is really nice to have someone else cook and do your dishes for you. Lots of camaraderie. Lots of pretty quilts. Lots of junk food in the snack room. Not a lot of sleep. So I took today, Monday, off to recover and quilt some more.

  21. Before I got in trouble with my diet I used to bake cookies for my friends in retail twice a week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. I stopped the last few years because I couldn’t resist the temptation. But now one of them is moving to a larger location across the street. I am providing goodies for the 3 days that the store will be closed but the only requests they have given me are for the one variety I don’t enjoy baking. Sigh. I’ll have to substitute something similar because a standard Toll House cookie is the one thing that never turns out the same way twice for me. But since I have what I think is the best brownie recipe in the world, I don’t think anyone will complain.

  22. The DH and I went to a dance yesterday, and on the way home he started on a detour and I said, uh, it’s right here unless you’re going to Randy’s. He said, I’m going to Randy’s. (Famous donut shop in south L.A.)

    So we stood in line for ten minutes to get donuts at 10:00 on a Sunday night. It was fun. 🙂

  23. I spent a couple of days in London, ate at some great restaurants, and then stopped at Harrods and bought fresh dates and Neuhaus chocolates. My favorites!

  24. A friend did one of those Wild Tree dinner kits parties so my freezer has all sorts of new to us recipes. Last night was the Salisbury Steaks with roasted baby potatoes and corn. They were a huge hit with both kids and my husband. So I’m going to be making that one again.

    Tonight is Mexican Stew. It’s in my crockpot instead of the stovetop because of timing but my daughter was thrilled by the idea of it. Hopefully she likes to eat it too! I’m not sure my 9 year old will like it but I have a plan for that.

  25. We eat pizza before we go with the granddaughters on Wednesday night. Lots of fun as we cebrate a couple of birthdays too. C

  26. I stopped by my favorite bakery yesterday, and they had something called “apple jam rolls” — they’d taken soft white bread rolls, and injected apple butter into them! Very delicious, and just right for the season.

    Plain ol’ apples are pretty miraculous right now, too. I’m getting some good and tarty varieties that are very good eating apples. Red-golds? I’m not sure if that’s their name or not.

  27. Monday was another slow cooker day. I called it French Stroganoff. Ground pork, ground beef, fresh mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, hash brown potatoes, sour cream, chopped onions, black pepper and powdered jalapeno pepper, just because. I got the crock pot ready, but used my wok to brown the beef, pork, onions and potatoes, half at a time. I added the other stuff as the spirit moved, and it all went into the pot. It doesn’t taste like pork dressing (I had no poultry seasoning) and it isn’t stroganoff. It is, however, delicious.The leftovers divided evenly into four containers of 540 grams (about 1.2 pounds) each. I ate the rest (over two pounds) over elbow macaroni and a mini-bagel, two separate meals. I finished off my gluttony with a slice of carrot cake.

  28. Tuesday is nearly over. October is nearly over. 2018 is nearly over. My “French Stroganoff” is nearly over. I ate two of the four leftover containers today. I also realized that I left out one of the ingredients; corn. Canned corn. Ty Ling Baby Corn whole spears. I cut them into half inch corn cobs and tossed them in with everything else.

    Also, I looked up the nutritional value of poultry seasoning, and discovered that its sodium content is quite low. Sometime before Thankfest I will be making a crock pot full of pork dressing, just like mama used to make. Sort of.


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