musings about food, travel, creativity and life

Back to Basics


 “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces. Just good food with fresh ingredients.”–Julia Child


I cooked a lot this week–it felt good and centering.

One meal in particular came together in a wonderful serendipitous way. It all started with my wanting to cook some green lentils from our pantry.

The first cookbook I got down from my shelf had the perfect recipe: Mediterranean Lentil Soup. The book is Food to Live By, created by Myra Goodman (with Linda Holland and Pamela McKinstry), one of the original owners of local Earthbound Farms. It felt so good to chop, simmer, stir, taste.

When I thought of an accompaniment, I came up with cornbread, which quickly turned into San Francisco Polenta Bread (recipe on the back of Golden Pheasant Polenta package). The Italian-San Franciscan in me was smiling.

We added a special wine–a robust 2003 white Rioja wine called Vina Gravonia –given to us by dear young friends years ago. We had been saving it for a special occasion. And then we decided everyday, especially now, is a special occasion. And so we opened and enjoyed it.

Our dessert was just by chance in keeping with the Mediterranean theme–red grapes, Milano cookies, and lokumi (Turkish delight).

It was a perfect, simple meal. We set our little outside picnic table with a pretty table cloth and napkins, lit a candle, gave our thanks for our meal and abundant garden and focused our conversation on the good things in life. We listened and watched as the neighborhood birds dipped in and out of our bird bath and trees and then we topped off our evening with a little “passagiata” up our hill and back again.

Food, home, nature, health. How lucky we are to have them.


10 thoughts on “Back to Basics”

  • One year of college I lived with four other friends in a Minnesota farmhouse — easily 75 years old already. We easily fell in to a Friday evening routine that included one of us “cooking” a meal while we watched Cooking with Julia Child — one we constructed from a previous show, Wild, Wild West and capped off with the original Star Trek. What a fabulous evening!

    • I love this, Tom. Thanks for sharing. How fun to all gather (remember that?) and have Julia be your cooking guide👩🏻‍🍳 And to end with some good old tv programs. Nice memories. 😍

  • Yes, everyday is a special occasion! And you two certainly know well how to celebrate and savor it all.

  • Well that all sounds so lovely….except the cooking part….ha!
    I can picture your beautiful patio overlooking the valley with pretty trees & flowers and listening to birds sing.
    We are thankful everyday we can walk outside our front door and be in our very own park.
    People these days needs to learn a little more gratitude & appreciation because it sure makes life a whole lot better.

  • Thank you Lynn. I am smiling. You warmed my day. Now I have to look up lokumi. Thanks for always feeding me interesting tidbits. 🙂
    Did you ever make that pesto? B
    did you know there is a cilantro pesto too? Never tried it, but…

    • Yes, I made that pesto! And more to come. My basil is alive and waiting. As for other pestos, I know that many herbs/plants can be the basis of a pesto, which means “to pound or crush.” My go-to is always basil, but I do have a newish book called Pesto which presents a whole genre of different pestos. I’m going to give it a peruse and may just have to write about it in a future blog!

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