I have to admit: this past month (has it really been a month?) of break from 20something meals has been both rewarding, relaxing, refreshing, and more than anything: reinvigorating. I can’t seem to step away from looking at food with a critical eye, an eye for arrangement and pleasure, or an eye for a picture. I try to pair those perfect flavors together and try to plate my food as if it were a musical piece – having some flavors play soft at first, rising to crescendo and ultimately bursting forth and leaving you as if the meal was a work of art rather than “substance.”
But taking time away from the formatting, has let me really discover, re-discover, that I thoroughly enjoy and almost need this – talking to people about all aspects of food. Searching, cultivation, harvesting, preparation, keeping, cooking, baking, sizzling, sautéing, plating, photographing, crunching, slurping, enjoying. It’s all there, and it’s what I want.
To recapitulate the last month in a sentence: I moved my life into a state of limbo. From Seoul, Korea back to New York City down to North Carolina to Savannah to New York City to Ithaca to New York City. Do you see a theme, here? It has been throwing away or giving away up to ten boxes of things. It has been living out of a suitcase. It has been running every morning with one of my best friends. It has been going to farmers markets and grilling on my parents’ porch and enjoying every last drop that summer has to offer. From early apples to late peaches. Blueberries as sweet as a sunset and white wine as crisp as a lime. Chard and Kale. Zucchini and peppers. Mint and dill. Basil on everything, while tomatoes – cherry, heritage, beefsteak – all marinate below on roasting pans sitting comfortably with red and white beets, summer squash, new potatoes, and eggplant. Fresh crisp salsas and pestos. Iced coffees and ginger mint iced tea and kombucha and water and hot yoga. Picking community supported agricultural produce while planning the next meal.
I have to say: my transition back from Seoul has been anything but torturous.
So not torturous that upon my arrival back to the states, my pick up crew – aka one of my bestest friends – greeted me with a kombucha and a bagel with so much cream cheese that it might classify as simply a “Cream Cheese Sandwich.” I promptly siphoned that kombucha into my veins, savoring every vinegary, effervescent, sweet, raw flavor I could get my tongue on. Followed shortly by the chewy but firm, moist and plain ol’ delicious bagel with the sweet hints built into the filling.
Although, to many, a bagel with cream cheese and kombucha may be the everyday or simply strange, it was the absolute perfect way to get back to America: with healthy strides and filling meals and great friends to be there while you do it all.
After one day in the city, I packed up again, hit the road, and was off again in a plane down to the South for ten days (as if my 15 hour flight wasn’t enough from Seoul to JFK). Lake houses, Mexican food, runs on the bluff to come, dear, loyal readers!
Also: Japan is all but forgotten. As is last thoughts about Korea. Don’t worry! I have an arsenal of material now. Keep tuned in!