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Part 86 - Food

On the love of food.

· food,friends,camino

"If a man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do."
- H. Hesse

I love food.

I look at food as a form of art and adoration. When a friend prepares a meal, it is an act of love.

Raul walked to the market. We'd all walked fifteen miles that day, but there Raul was, taking a stroll down cobbled streets to provision for dinner.

He broke down fish, shrimp, clams and other sundries. He piled the leavings in a stock pot with the extra veg. He brought that to a boil, then a simmer, and let it meld. He toasted some rice in a broad pan. He ladled fish stock in, a portion at a time. The rice cooked gently. He placed fish and clams and shrimp on top. He ladled more stock. It cooked to a crispy, fluffy perfection.

A hand crafted paella on the Camino de Santiago is rare and special. Raul made supper for our crew in a crowded albergue kitchen. People watched. People joined. We laughed. We ate. We polished off several bottles of vino tinto. The night was magic.

Josh moved around the kitchen with ease and haste - not rushed, but efficient and quick. In one pot he reduced a homemade pork stock. In another he gently dipped whole octopus. In the latter he cooked potatoes, water brined to perfection. Into the former went white beans and collards and sausage. He finished the octopus on the grill beside razor clams.

Lisa baked a Tart de Santiago. Robin selected the wine. Kim and I ran around and tried to help where we could.

We served fifty people a Spanish feast. The whole affair was assembled with love. The night was magic.

Kim counted out cups of flower. One. Two. Three ...

She set the mixer. She let it rise. She pulled sections of dough and formed baguettes. While the loaves were rising, she browned potato and onions in olive oil.

Drain. Mix in eggs. Return to the pan. Cook till set.

Spanish tortilla.

All the while, I assembled tapas. Quail eggs. Cornichons. Shrimp. Pulpo. Tuna. Manchego. Olives.

We sat at the counter, Kim and me. Our friends Tony and Iris joined. We sat at the counter, we four, and ate like pilgrim kings.

I had been walking for four hours. The day would hold another three hours of walking. I walked. I took in water. I walked. I took in more water. I did not eat until diner time.

I do not normally feel hunger while walking. I often don't feel hunger during the day. Most days, I end up fasting until late afternoon. It's not a conscious thing, most days. I just don't find myself feeling hungry, most days.

I love food. I love making food. I love meals prepared by friends.

I don't understand people who don't love food. I get that some people eat simply for sustenance. I just don't understand how that works.

For me, preparing food is a way to show love. For me, taking the time to locate ingredients, prep them, and assemble them is a meditation. I don't understand people who don't love food.

Technically - I think - my daily routine would best be described as intermittent fasting. I don't think about it too much. It's just how my days unfold. I savor the meals I share at days end. I savor the meals I eat alone at days end.

I don't fast every day. Most Saturdays when I'm home in Nashville, you can find me eating breakfast with Kim at Marche'. But during the week I don't care to put too much breakfast or lunch in my body. Especially when the fare is over the counter processed food. I'd rather move through the day with an eye to making something special for dinner and sharing that with Kim or friends.

I look at food as a form of art and adoration. When a friend prepares a meal, it's an act of love.

I love food.

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