|The-not-so-Curly Blonde and I enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail while Brother #1 basted the Thanksgiving turkey (2007).|
I like eating, drinking, and smoking. I love processed meats and dark, frothy ales as well as the smell of tobacco and the sound a lighter makes after a glass of wine in the midst of a happy party or an intimate conversation. I also love cooking healthy meals from scratch, getting up with a clear head at the crack of dawn to run 10 miles, and shouting above a big family with a resonating voice and big lungs. Moreover, I love my son.
What is moderation? What does it mean to be moderate? I think it means that you can’t draw your inspiration from guilt. You can’t live your life feeling sorry for yourself or others, and you can’t expect to change anything by living in a chronic state of justification of your actions.
Lily Wallace would probably tell me to include more healthy fats in my diet and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. She would throw her hands up in the air and shake her head at the half-eaten box of Girl Scout shortbreads laying in front of my computer and stacks of edit piles without realistic due dates behind them. I am guessing she was my age in the 1920’s, so she would probably offer me a cigarette to go with my sherry as we conversed. And while I have not smoked a cigarette since about a year before I found out I was preggo, I would not hesitate :)
All I know of Ms. Wallace, the author of my antique cookbook, is that she came to the United States in 1900 from England. She was a specialist in home economics and wrote several books on matters of cooking, food, and the home, from approximately 1908 to 1947. Fascinating woman, though I really don’t know anything about her personal life or even when she died. One thing I do know about that era based on the cookbooks and recipes within them (mini snippets of history) is that the American way of life seemed SO much more moderate then compared to now.
I have to wonder, does living in (or not living in) moderation have anything to do with the source of where a person draws their inspiration for life?
I'm certainly no saint, but I grew up learning how to be driven by something other than the horrible cycle of guilt and binging. I now realize as an adult looking back on my childhood, is that this was due, in part, to my parents’ love not just of food, but of the land it comes from and of the people who cared enough to pass down the skills of creating something nourishing from scratch.