Life is a continuous experience and it is not often that we can separate out a certain time period that bears great meaning.
Last night I revisited a place that a friend and I had visited a number of times. I met him and knew him for only a few years and then over a year ago he left for this place in eternity.
I have found that one can not enjoy good food unless alone and perhaps with one other who can also extract its flavors and add to its pleasures. Of course there are always parties where great numbers add to the pleasure.
I dined alone in this place owned by the son of my former friend and was seated at a small table where we often dined together. Clear ice and water carefully splashed into a large thin shell shaped glass, bread and butter.
The first thing I ordered was a fresh tomato salad and a red Sicilian wine. The tasty pieces of cheese, oil and vinegar dressing surrounding the slices was soaked up by small pieces of buttered bread. Delicious!
I thought of my friend who when we visited there was unable to take full part in this ritual of eating because of his bad stomach. He dabbed pieces of bread in whatever was on my plate and enjoyed, he said, watching the pleasure that I got out of carefully tasting and experiencing the texture of the ingredients as I retained them in my mouth enjoyably, the final act and object of culinary art.
I was then at the end of these two hours last night to enjoy a cold iced desert with an appropriate sweet-tart amber wine and coffee.
I was again able to refresh those memories, those passing moments and discussions that seemed to further season these culinary experiences. Like the freshness of the tomato in the salad, his thoughts were not tainted with formalized traditional education and they came with a dressing of his own experiences.
He was a man who wanted to be an actor. So he saw these moments as passages on a stage. His own life was significant and he added some of that significance to mine. Last night he and I were again in a familiar place, he dabbing at this artful food and commenting on my choice of wine.