My heart is set on living. - Edna St. Vincent Millay
"I'm doing the spa at his Tuscan inn, L'Andana. He's talking about doing little, er, I don't know what he would like to call them, but delicacies of some sort tied to local ingredients. We've got rosemary, citrus and olive oil and all the obvious things in Tuscany. And he wants to do little gourmet bits and pieces to match the treatments we'll be using. For instance, he's doing a soy-milk panna cotta with seasonal fruits for clients who have a facial, and a lavendar tart for those having a hot-stone massage - and he's doing infusions of rosemary, thyme, wild fennel and lemon balm." - regarding chef Alain Ducasse, interview with luxury spa designer Susan Harmsworth, "Spa Mastermind", Food & Wine, August 2006
We're all used to gorging on ten-course meals here at this blog. Yet, last night my dinner consisted of an orange, about a dozen almonds, a 1/2 inch chunk of dark chocolate with tiny bits of ginger washed down with pomegrante green tea.
So I'm thinking a lot like chef Alain Ducasse. I'm thinking tantalizing artful appetizers. I'm thinking delicacies tied to local ingredients.
I'm thinking epicurean blog. I'm thinking Italian Zen (with infusions of innate divine spark absorbing, enveloping, our essential humanness).
I'm thinking evoking a feel here that mixes up farmer's market, public gallery, (and once I'm through with my current neo-Luddite phase) and Demo combining the triumverate of my passions: how food connects us to land, people and place; how art enlivens us; how applied technology can enrich us. All featuring things and experiences made by people and companies I know myself and like.
I hear you whispering: Evelyn, er, epicurean? Asked what spa trends she foresaw, spa designer diva Susan Harmsworth replied: "We'll probably see more destination spas where there's no TV, no telephone, no electricity...[That's definitely me. I call it backpacking, though.] We might even see places where people have to build their own fires - something that addresses the need for grounding, because we're so technologied out."
According to the dictionary, ecipurean equates to wanton hedonism. Ah, poor totally misunderstood Epicurus. This snippet sets things right:
"Epicurus, in the fourth century B.C., was the original advocate of a pleasurable lifestyle, and though his name has been misappropriated ever since - there are several luxurious restaurants called The Epicurean - he himself preferred moderation when it came to the appetites. He drank water rather than wine and was happy with a dinner of bread and olives. His priorities for a rich and contented life were friendship, freedom, the pleasures of an examined life, and enough food and shelter to keep body and soul together.
I would agree with the old Greek that you can't be off in a stupor, drunken, overfed, or otherwise, and still thrill to the sensation of all your cells dancing. Neither does an armchair, or a plate of ravioli, have to be overstuffed for you to feel you have got your money's worth. The more present and awake you are to your experience, the more likely the experience will be one of genuine pleasure.
No, the message of this book is that if you can be present to it, life is already enhanced enough as it is." - Roger Housden, "Seven Sins for a Life Worth Living"
p.s. If you live in the Bay Area, I'll be at Montalvo Arts Center "Tastes of Tuscany" luncheon Wednesday (tomorrow). Say ciao if you're there!
Bonus: After a nearly twenty-year career (ah, yes, I'm revealing age) in high-tech, I'm not nearly the neo-Luddite I wish I were. I'm salivating over the "cuisine mode" on the 7.1 megapixel Olympus Stylus 710 that boosts the color saturation and contrast in food. Yum yum.
Foodie photo-lush blogs recommended in this August's Food & Wine's awesome "How to be an eco-Epicurean" issue include chezpim.typepad.com (by a former Silicon Valley executive whom humbly deflects the limelight to share her own drool-worthy foodie blog favs), thefoodsection.com, shewhoeats.blogspot.com, and 101cookbooks.com. And tips for stunning food shots.