I often find myself trying to reconcile my love for good food with my desire to live simply. The thing is, I love cheese. Any kind of cheese. Some of my friends even made up a song about my love for cheese, seriously. And it’s not just cheese. I have a “refined palate” as some like to say 😉 I blame it on the fact that I was raised in a gourmet store. The first several years of my life, my mother own and ran a gourmet shop with everything from pâté to croissants and a plethora of, what else, cheese. The story goes that, as a 3-year-old, I’d wander around the store saying, “Mommy, may I have some pâté on a croissant?”
It didn’t help that I studied in France during college, staying with a host family who loved to share French culture with us. Our dinners began with a regional wine hand-picked by our host dad, and ended with, yet again, cheese. Munsters, goat cheeses, camemberts, bries, La Vache qui Rit (yes, even Laughing cow cheese)- we sampled every French cheese imaginable.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I recently visited my husband at a farmer’s market where he was working, and found lots of cheese from local vendors. A friend and I wandered around, meeting and chatting with various farmers, learning about their products and their farms. We purchased some delicious fare.
Our lunch the next day consisted of a ciabatta bread, purchased from a local baker at the market, topped by the meltiest, most delectable brie I’ve had in a long time (also from a local farm), and some fresh salad mix from the farm where my husband works (The Joshua Farm). Needless to say, I was in heaven.
I read this book about 5 years ago, called Sustaining Simplicity: A Journal by Anne Basye. Though it’s been quite a while since I read it, the essence of the book has stuck with me. Basye wrote about finding balance between celebration and enjoyment, and simplicity and sustainability. This book had an impact on how I find my own balance in this area today- enjoying my fancy cheese occasionally, but somehow trying to keep simplicity in mind. It helped me realize that I don’t have to feel guilty every time I splurge a little, within reason of course. I admit that I sometimes go overboard with the celebration and enjoyment side of things, but am continually learning more self-discipline in this area.
And so, at this time, I reconcile my love for good food by doing my best to be aware of where it comes from, making connections with the people who grow and make it. Of course, “local” is oh-so-trendy now, but throughout history, isn’t that how it always was? You knew the local vegetable farmer, and the local dairy farmer, and butcher. Though I did not grow up this way in my metropolitan New Jersey hometown, I am drawn to this way of living. Having a farmer for a husband certainly helps.
And I sure enjoy that brie with a glass of wine here and there.