If you were anything like I am, you would start craving for food as soon as you see it in a movie. Such as in the book-based “Under the Tuscan Sun” (one of my all-time favorite films). The “Oda a San Lorenzo” scene here says it all, doesn’t it?
During my life in Turkey and a few years after I settled in the States, I was convinced that only Turkish people knew how to enjoy good food – regardless of the occasion, festive or not. Good company over prolonged meal times, much talk and laughter as main ingredients. The Haiku below – on my son-in-law’s profession (a chef in Turkish cuisine) – may give you an idea about what I mean:
flour, water, salt, hands,
diligence, speed, energy,
hot plate: his food art
My world vision was not at all overly limited for me to assume such an ethno-centric attitude. Thanks to my father’s research projects my family and I had explored German culture long before Germany began to have issues with its 1961 invitation of Turks as its workforce. Still, I started living here feeling sorry for every non-Turk for being unaware of the long-lasting pleasures of food – when shared with someone. Oh, did I realize (though not early enough) how wrong I was! This summer, then, I found out that good food can feel like the sight of a world wonder when consuming it even with strangers. (No, I am not talking about the spaghetti-eating chickens, mind you…)
If you read my post from a short while ago, “Finton’s Landing: A Writer’s Dream” you would know my joy dance-kind of words about having discovered this spectacular B&B (and no, the dear owners don’t happen to be my clients on whose behalf I am writing this piece – wait…I have no clients… Joke aside; I can only hope that my amateurish picture-taking skills do at least some justice to what an oasis they have over there). On top of it all, their other house guests – three lovely couples, turned out to be some of the most delightful people I have ever met. Picture now, if you would please, Frances Meyes in the film scene above. But first take her away – we have never gotten to see the delectable cooking and baking skills of our modest and graceful chef. Then make her companions’ table of lunch feast about festive breakfast settings and tastes for every one of those three days. And don’t forget to add to your imagination’s eye “my” deliciously talkative, charming, humor-filled, utmost friendly, ever so lovely group of co-breakfast-enjoyers (no need to call the syntax or semantics police; I promise not to use this non-word again…).
My photographs of the inn unfortunately lack fully all the colors of our joined anticipation for and enjoyment of the aromas that every time gained a life right before our eyes at the breakfast table. We were having too much of a good time to think about taking pictures of ourselves devouring our food of large variety of color, shape and palate-pleasing texture. Perhaps a Haiku poem I wrote quite a while ago is better capable of expressing what my people-less pictures couldn’t:
leftover meal with old friends
laughter for dessert
Oh no, no, none of us had any wine in the morning! (Evening times, though, were a different story.) While I didn’t compose the verses based on my experience with my new friends, in retrospect the word “old” expresses a different kind of anticipation on my behalf; namely, to become old friends with these harmonious couples.
What on earth does the content of my text have anything to do with its title, right? My answer is simple enough: during each and every one of our breakfast celebrations and pre-dinner wine cocktails on the patio (two nights at least, also post-dinner…), we all visited an anecdote the leading brilliantly hilarious new friend told us on the first day when we all met each other the first time. Yes, about spaghetti-eating chickens “of Kentucky”. A beautiful woman with a smiling voice and most generous soul (I can’t believe I had the nerve to burden her with a confession of a serious dilemma in my life) was our storyteller. For fear I may recite her details incorrectly, I will only tell you how Kentucky was involved in this remarkable announcement (I, for one, have never seen any chicken eating spaghetti…) – through this sweet lady’s 8-year old niece. Apparently, she and her family have actually witnessed (theirs or a neighbor’s) chickens gobbling on old spaghetti one day. Can you now hear “my” group laughing over and over about a potential aspect of their human food consumption? We had a ball when everyone – while enjoying our chef’s aesthetic presentations and exceptional food assortments – contributed to our laughter buffet with the name of an Italian spaghetti sauce selection for those lucky poultry representatives…
Do you, dear reader, have a story of your own – one that has left you with a wonderful taste of and for life? Or can you relate to what I admit here to have done: being convinced that only one or the other cultural group knows how to enjoy food with company as a life experience? Please share. I’d absolutely love to hear from you!