Feast Daily Writing Prompt…
What does feast mean to me? What doesn’t it mean? It’s my life. Every good memory I have, and every story I tell is almost always surrounded by what I ate. Just about every meal I eat, is a feast. Sometimes I think I’m unusual in my preoccupation/obsession with food, but then I realize that almost everyone I interact with shares this similar attraction. Chefs, farmers, friends, and family.
Mamma always had a Sunday Feast. (Mamma, that’s what we called our grandmother, some called her Mamma Salmon, her name was Betty Jean Salmon- I think even once or twice I heard someone refer to her as Mean Betty Jean, she was about 5’2″ and married to my 6’7″ grandfather whom I never met-she was already a widow when I was born). Anyway,You know how Holiday feasts at someone’s home is usually buffet or potluc style meals, and are always a big spread? Well, every Sunday was like that. My mom was 1 of 8, so once all her siblings and all of their kids were in the same house, there just simply had to be a lot of food on hand to feed us all. This lasted until I was about 12, then she passed, then we moved, and I think I’ve been looking for that feast ever since. I’m always hungry.
When I was 31 I moved to Boston all by myself. I knew a couple people but I had set out to the city from a smallish town to be alone and to find out something about myself. For some reason I find comfort in being alone in a City, surrounded by strangers. It’s kinda lonely, but not completely. I’ve been in the restaurant business since I was 14, so I pursued a serving job. I made really good money and worked all the time. One day a week I would start in 1 neighborhood and work my way across the city. My own personal feast. Kind of like a potluc, but spread out. I’d have oysters here, salad there, a small plate next door, hop on the train or walk a bit to grab another plate of food. I usually sat at the bar. You can always count on a bartender to keep you company. Once the sun begins to set and the wine begins to flow you always make a friend at the bar. Someone passing through the city or another lonely single diner, often a much older man or woman looking for company. Sometimes I brought a book or magazine if I was feeling especially interverted. You start to find spots you enjoy and you become a regular at certain bars. I can still remember the feeling of certain bar stools or worn wooden ledges of certain bar tops. I recall good conversations with certain bartenders and strangers. All this transpired over food. Within my traveling feast. Perhaps because I’ve worked in restaurants my whole life or because of my fond early memories in the kitchen, I always feel very comfortable, literally at home in restaurants and kitchens. Every meal I have I try to make special. I think I have been trying to recreate that feeling of comfort in Mamma’s house on Sunday’s.
Now I have my own family, a new baby and we are often at my in laws. Their home is a farmhouse, we’re actually moving in in about 19 days. They grow food and provide for many of the restaurants in Philly. So, there are often Chefs and restaurant folk in the farm house which is about an hour from the city. Someone is always cooking, the table is always set and a feast is always just a moment away. I have found a feasting family that enjoys the simple pleasure of setting a table, reading cookbooks, planning dinner while you’re eating breakfast, talking about which butcher is the best, and reading the food section of the paper. There are usually at least 5-8 people around the table. I have fond memories of my one woman feasts, although looking back they don’t seem as warm now as they once did.