Mark Bittman got it wrong. The 4th of July isn’t about eating meat, it’s about celebrating summer. And summer is about eating outdoors, with watermelon juice running down your chin, garden tomatoes tinting yellow and hinting at next week’s ripe red, casual dinners with friends, late night laughter in the piazza and incredibly star filled nights.
If there is ever a time to cook simply and eat simply, it’s now.
If there is ever a time to cook simply and eat simply, it’s now. Recipes with long lists of ingredients, or overly complicated cooking techniques seem wrong. And here Bittman got it right; we eat better, tastier, cleaner, cheaper when we cook at home.
I’m weary of words like ‘foodie’ that imply an inherent food snobbiness. I’m puzzled by chef competitions; a perfect dish isn’t just about the food, it’s about the company, the ambience; but what are these judges judging? Technical execution of a dish, but nothing about the art of dining. I love this Funny or Die video that my friend Mitch found; it nails how silly we’ve all become. What is the ‘best’ restaurant in the world? To whom is it the best?
We dined exceptionally well this past week. We dined exclusively this past week. These were invitation only dinners; you needed to know someone, to be able to taste Emanuella’s perfect little meatballs. To watch Costanza’s eyes grow wide as she took her first bite of tiramisu, her tiny hands grabbing for more. To sit around a big, outdoor table laughing and devouring the simplest of all spaghetti dishes: aglio, olio & pepperoncini. To kick back with friends, on our rooftop, with a spontaneous feast of leftovers.
These meals were a kind of perfection, rare moments where time slows down, and you appreciate your good fortune.
Yes, food matters, but what matters more is slowing things down to enjoy yourself. So declare your independence today by walking away from the computer, go find some friends and have some laughs.
All of us have challenges, and worries; but today, revel in the beauty of a slice of watermelon. Happy 4th of July from Italia to all of our family and friends in the USA.
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