Friday, October 2, 2009

Restaurant? Mais, Oui!

So many different angles to take on this week's blog topic. Do I write about the plethora of wonderful restaurants available here in the Vancouver area? Another possibility is to talk about the restaurants that we have visited in other parts of the world. I even began a post about the restaurant I would open, if I didn't have *SSWB Syndrome.

All week, I stewed over what to write. As Murphy's time draws near, my heart just isn't into writing...until we went for a walk. My walks with Murphy have always been a source of inspiration for me. As abbreviated as the walks have become, today was no different. A soupçon of an idea began to sauté...

The word "restaurant" comes from the Old French word restorer meaning "to restore". Food is that great restorer; not only of energy, but also of spirit. It serves to unite us during times of celebration. Many family, friend and corporate occasions are fêted with a trip to a restaurant or banquet hall. During times of grief, the preparation of food serves as a distraction. Sharing that food with others not only helps ease the pain but also acts as a balm to soothe the grief.

As wonderful as it is to eat at the tables of chefs of varying degrees of renown, some of my most memorable meals have been at the tables of friends and family. These meals are prepared, not for remuneration, but simply for the sharing of one's table and companionship. The truest sense of table-d'hôte.

Come sit at my table while I serve up a few of my meal memories:
  • Mom was always quick to offer a seat at our table, whether it be to the friends that I brought home from university, neighbours who happened to stop by or the workers who helped during haying season. It was never any problem to put another chair at the table nor to add additional items to the menu to ensure that everyone walked away well-satiated.
  • That "restaurant" gene has been passed on to my sister and brother. Whenever I visit - not often enough - the meals are nutritious and there is usually something new to tempt the palate.
  • A Ukrainian grandmother (Baba) meant that each week, we would have home-made perogies and cabbage rolls (holoptsi). When I reflect back at the perfection that came out of that wood stove, I am sorry that I took that all for granted.
  • Birthday dinners lovingly prepared by Mom, my mother-in-law or my friends. Thank you for taking the time and energy to put your love into meals and celebrating another year of life with me!
  • Whenever we would visit my aunt, we'd have "Kaye's Lunch". It could be the salmon my uncle had caught and canned, slices of cheese from the Dutch store, yesterday's roasted chicken, the last of the garden's gifts and blackberries we picked along the way, served up with some ice-cream. It was a clean-out-the-fridge meal - one we always looked forward to having.
As I finish this post, I notice that my spirit has been restored, simply by stirring up those wonderful memories. Those French were on to something when they coined the word "restaurant"!

*SWB Syndrome: Strong Spirit, Weak Body Syndrome - as in the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. In my case, my joints are weak.

Loose Blog Consortium: Please visit the blogs of Conrad, David, Grannymar, Maria and Ramana to see what is on offer. Thanks to Grannymar for today's topic - Restaurants. Ashok will not be joining us this week.

7 comments:

  1. Ah, Marianna, this is truly inspired stuff. I love your take on restoration and our need for it. Then, showing how just the memories themselves can do it for you.

    Sweet piece of writing. Sweet indeed.

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  2. Your muse has indeed done wonders for your creative ability. A great post on a difficult subject.

    Food as a restorer is a new take for me. It however makes sense as I have just discovered to my dismay that I have been using food to restore me to sanity after a recent bereavement. I am in the process of getting rid of some of the restoration about which I shall post in a couple of months.

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  3. I enjoyed your journey down memory lane. A nice take on the subject

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  4. Conrad,
    Before looking up the etymology of restaurant, I incorrectly guessed that it was derived from the verb "rester" - to stay. Mind you, if it had been, it would have been fitting, as well.

    Ramana,
    Your choice of food as solace after your loss makes complete sense.

    You ate, you felt a sense of relief. Then, the brain remembers that when you feel a certain way, food made you feel better. Next thing you know, you are looking in the cupboards or the fridge.

    The trick for me, has been to be aware that this is what is happening. Oh, the left/right shoulder argument that ensues! :)

    GM,
    Thanks for jumping in with this week's challenge!(By the way, you will soon be able to literally do that, at the rate you're progressing!)

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  5. Enjoyed your post very much. I too, like the idea of food as a restorer. I think back on "comfort" food and realize that it is often a response to spirit that is sometimes up and more often down.

    The photo you chose made me smile. Partly because I played the accordian as a child and partly because it is such a happy family.

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    1. Maria,
      There's something amiss in the state of COHSS. Duplicate comments and now that I check, no response from me. (What is the statute of limitations on blog post comments, I wonder?)

      Would you consider picking up the accordian, again? That's if you could find one in India.

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