that can transport the sailor and the traveler, thousands of miles away,
back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!
~ Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836
May your Christmas be filled with joy, peace and unconditional love!
. . . in front of a table so sumptuously laid as to be waiting for Caravaggio. I move slowly, touching when I dare, trying a smile now and then. . . .I walk to the pescheria, fish market, a clamorous hall full of the stinging, dizzying perfumes of sea salt and fish blood. . . .I look in on the macellerie, butchers, who are cutting nearly transparent steaks behind their macabre curtains of rabbits, wild and tame. . . .
You mustn’t think I expect you to set a table like this each evening. . . I’m not telling you not to cook. . .What I’m saying is that your idea of everyday cooking is my idea of festival cooking. . . .Why is it so peculiar that I want to cook, really cook, every day?. . I cook because I love to cook. . . .
It has been months since I cooked a full five or six course dinner. Working a regular nine to five job and having a life just do not leave much time for “festival cooking.” And I certainly had not felt like cooking even a three course dinner for just myself.
Reading A Thousand Days re-awoke long buried desire. The very act of cooking brings me great joy, but in order for that joy to be fully realized, I have to cook for someone. My friend JB [a 3rd year law student] and his wife wanted to meet a UVA 1st year law student to swap stories and clerkship advice. Ah! A perfect excuse to cook! After much inner debate, I came up with the following Dinner for Eight:
it is in truth my fear, that, as soon as I should meditate a letter to be sent you, it should suddenly come into my mind by what an interval of earth you are distant from me, and so the grief of your absence, already nearly lulled, should grow fresh, and break up my sweet dream