“In America, men often work long hours even when they are already well off; such men, naturally, are indignant at the idea of leisure for wage-earners, except as the grim punishment of unemployment; in fact, they dislike leisure even for their sons. Oddly enough, while they wish their sons to work so hard as to have no time to be civilized, they do not mind their wives and daughters having no work at all. The snobbish admiration of uselessness, which, in an aristocratic society, extends to both sexes, is, under a plutocracy, confined to women; this, however, does not make it any more in agreement with common sense”
A few sentiments that I feel, somehow, have some truth for today.
Here in London we have a small space for growing plants. Without a balcony or garden, we are relegated to our living/dining room/kitchen. I wanted tomatoes, basil and peppers, tastes of summer. I thought I could manage to grow them here because we get a lot of sun since the windows face south east, which helps and my thought was to grow them from seeds.
Perhaps I started out a bit late in the season, but the beginning of April it still felt cold. But I plated them in small plastic water cups and old yogurt containers. V can attest to the amount of attention I gave to these small seedlings. To my amazement they all sprouted and turned into large, healthy plants. Even if they are in pots, not in the ground, and if they produce far less fruit because of that, I still feel a sense of accomplishment in seeing the few tomatoes start to turn red, the two peppers growing long and green as well as enjoying the bite of fresh basil.
It’s a way to see into the future, I thought, and know that when we have space, land, soil, earth near our house we will be able to produce enough for ourselves and neighbors.
I spend a lot of time preparing food. Both of us do, because for us, it is a priority. We eat, probably 90% vegetarian, not because we don’t like meat, not at all, but for other reasons that include quality/price ratio and trusting food sources. You should see us eat in Italy, where we tend to eat a lot of carne cruda, horse bresola, tons of fish, chicken from grandma and Piedmontese beef. Also, one of my favorites, sfilacci di cavallo or dried shredded horse meat.
But let me get back to the idea of spending time cooking and preparing food. There are a lot of romantic notions around about cooking together, sharing a meal, making a date night. For us, it’s not really any of those things, it’s just the way we live. We respect meal times, that is, eating at the right time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We never eat in the car (we don’t have one), we don’t eat standing, walking or on the train. We don’t eat dinner at 5Pm or lunch at 11AM.
I found this interesting:
Society at a Glance 2011 – OECD Social Indicators (www.oecd.org/els/social/indicators/SAG)
Released yesterday, the report looks at 25 economically developed countries and found (among other things), that those of us in the US spend the least amount of time preparing food — 30 minutes per day compared to an average of 52 minutes per day. NBC’s Brian Williams commented, “this despite our having no less than 500 cooking shows on TV.”
The report also notes that Americans spend the third least amount of time eating despite being the most obese.
So what’s going on? People want to watch cooking shows, but not cook? The time spent cooking is time spent watching the show? Who knows. All I know is that I don’t need much more than the internet and my own intuition to make something good in the kitchen.