Before heading to work in the oil field I made the decision to quit drinking. The main reason was that I didn’t want to complicate my job by drinking with people. The self imposed sobriety lasted throughout the job and more. I’ve been doing a considerable amount of thinking on the subject of cultural attachments to alcohol of late as well as the correlation between good food and good wine. Being in Ottawa, along with the proximity to Quebec, it is understandable that there is a considerable local French community here. When I think of France, like so many others I think of the wine and food.
However, I’ve also been trying to focus on a million different things to the point that I was making myself sick. Headaches, lack of energy and an overall sense of being stressed out was beginning to get to me. Rather than allow myself to continue along this route, I took a note from Hayley Hobsons’ latest book and do some self care before I imploded.
(Photo not my own, rather from online search)
It was because of this that I headed to the grocery store in search of some savory treats reminiscent of French or Italian food. I wanted food that was not going to be rushed bur rather savored and enjoyed in peace and tranquility. In my mind I envisioned a small feast of good flavourful cheese, savory olives, rustic bread and delectable wine. I was soon to discover that my fantasy meal was to be rather challenging. Since becoming vegetarian I don’t eat meat and rarely consume real milk or cheese so this excursion was a bit daunting as upon arrival in the cheese aisle, I had no clue what to choose for my special “treat” meal. To the frustration of at least one other patron, I circled the cheese case numerous times searching for something strong, with good flavor and a decent price that pairs well with olives and wine. Goodness was it ever tough. I settled on an aged salted Havarti and proceeded to the olives.
Olives are something I’ve acquired a taste for in recent years and is often a treat rather than something I keep in the cupboard. They had the usual stuffed, pitted, unpitted, mixed varieties but the choice came easily as I chose the large green pitted olives.
With those in hand all that was left was the bread and wine. A quick jaunt by the bakery secured me a baguette and it was off to choose wine. I was also making a spaghetti sauce so I lingered about and selected those as I blatantly had an Italian vibe to my cuisine that day.
Now for the wine. Having consumed wine for quite a while and being out of my element as they didn’t carry any Okanagan wines, I realised I needed some professional help selecting my vintage. The clerk was exceptionally helpful and after stating that I was looking for a red wine with a full body but not too tart flavor, he recommended the 2011 Inniskillin Niagara Estate Series Cabernet Franc. The wine boasts; Cabernet Franc displays raspberry, cranberry and floral aromas and flavours. With all the ingredients in hand for this treat I returned home and prepared myself for a journey of the senses.
As my spaghetti cooked I sat down to this special meal. I ensured that I did not have my phone beside me, nor my iPad. This meal was to be specially enjoyed. And I have to say, it was perfect. The wine was fantastic and everything else complimented eachother spectacularly.
This whole “foodie” experience brought me back to one major thing that is often over looked in our busy daily lives: the enjoyment of food. It’s been vilified, bad mouthed and marginalised in our lives. No longer do we linger over a meal and conversation without distraction while purely enjoying the sensory experience of our food. Rather we rush through meals while on social media or mentally focused on the next task at hand that we often over look this most basic method of self care.
Self care is when we remember that we need to do special things for ourselves as well. We go and go until we are spent before wondering why we have no energy. Personally this is something I know I do too often and it seems expensive and lavish to do most things but this little treat was precisely what I needed.
What has been your treat to yourself lately?