Thursday, 16 February 2017

Simple Pleasures: Olives, Bread, Oil, and Vinegar

It's been a while since I updated, and I apologise for that. As most of us have realised by now, life has its ups and downs, and sometimes just staying afloat takes almost all of our effort. A new year has rolled over, I've just turned 40, and recent events have left me reeling from a veritable emotional maelstrom. 

One of my oldest friends recently died after a long battle with cancer, and as I work my way through the grieving process after losing her, I find many aspects of my life have been put into perspective. Funny how tumultuous life events will do that, neh? 

In any case, I feel as though I am slowly emerging from a midwinter cocoon into a rather new form of existence, though it's a slow process and has quite a way yet to go.
A very slow process indeed.

No metamorphosis comes without growing pains (often quite painful ones), and my own recent shift has required a startling amount of introspection and honesty about old wounds. Some of that culminated in some serious soul searching in a hotel room about a thousand miles from where I am now. The rest has unfolded here in my cabin in the woods, where the snow now reaches my chest if I dare to venture out into the cold.

Needless to say, all of this growth has been assisted by some of my favourite comfort foods.
Sure, my old standbys (potato salad and soup) played a role in this time of change and growth, but I also turned to the simple foods that have soothed my soul on countless occasions over the past few decades: good bread, cheese, olives, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. 

It really is the type of basic peasant fare that people have been enjoying for a few thousand years now, but there's a reason this food is turned to time and time again: it's not just because it's fairly inexpensive and easily accessible, but because it is gorgeously indulgent and comforting. 

Bread satiates hunger when it actually arises, and just happens to soak up good oil and vinegar rather beautifully. Olives are perfect, fleshy, salty little bites of wonder, and there's wondrous variety to be enjoyed: meaty Spanish black olives, briny kalamatas, green olives stuffed with garlic or pimento... so many to choose from, and delight in.

As an added bonus, as far as comfort foods go, this is a pretty healthy spread. 

I've tasted foods from around the world, but if I had to choose a last meal for myself, I'm quite certain that it would consist of olives, cheese, bread, and balsamic. Probably an excellent wine as well. For those of you who may be inclined to indulge that last bit, I like Pinot Noir, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio best.

And so, a toast: to friendship, to self-care, and to appreciating all that we have... even the tiniest joys, such as these.

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