Monday, October 25, 2010

Food, Food and More Food

I’ve never eaten so much in my life!  Or had a better time.  Yes, I have just a few more Disney related reflections before I’m back to my own kitchen.

While we were at Disney World, the Food and Wine Festival was happening.  What a blast!  All around the Epcot World Showcase, nearly 30 booths were set up to serve samples of appetizers and entrées, stews, sliders and skewers, desserts and of course wines from all different nations.  One could wander through the park, munching on delectables provided every 30 feet or so.  What could be better?

It was a marvelous experience savoring the tastes from around the world.  We did our best to try them all.  I never got around to the Golabki (pork stuffed cabbage – pronounced go-womp-kee) from Poland, but we managed to take in most of it.  My favorite was from the Ireland booth, the Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Ganache.  Just writing the name makes me light-headed. I tried the Lamb Slider with Tomato Chutney from New Zealand.  The chutney was great but I was reminded that I’m not so fond of lamb.  The Hatsumago Sake from Japan was an interesting and welcome find.

There were some things that I tried that were valuable for the trying.  Now that I have checked them off my list, however, I might not try them again for some time.  These include the escargot I sampled at Les Chefs de France, and the mead (honey wine) I tried at the Ireland booth.  Both terrific experiments and great things to have on the “Done that and glad I did” list.  But while they were well worth the taste, they may not be a lasting favorite.

I also did something that I hadn’t planned to do since starting this blog.  I bought a cookbook!  Yes, I have one more collection of recipes to put on the crowded shelf!  I really didn’t plan to, but how could I not?  Now I can make Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Ganache!  In fact, I can make Moroccan Walnut and Honey Baklava!  I can make Shrimp Stew with Coconut Milk from Brazil!  I can even make Golabki.

I can’t write about the Food and Wine Festival without mentioning “3D.”  Disney’s Dessert Discovery.  How can I begin to describe this event?  Imagine a ballroom completely filled with desserts of every kind.  Mousses, cheesecakes, puddings, pastries, cobblers, tortes, chocolates, plus fruits, cheeses, cognacs and cordials.  Now imagine that you can have all that you want.  Throw in some fancy decorations and live jazz and what else do you need?  It was overwhelmingly fantastic!  Overpoweringly superb!  I don’t have enough goofy word combinations for it.  It was like a happy Alice in Wonderland with no Jabberwocky, only flambéed doughnuts floating in ice cream.  After stuffing ourselves impossibly full, we had VIP seating for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, the fireworks show over the lake.  (BTW, at the beginning of the event, we were given 3-D glasses that made Mickeys appear everywhere, even around the moon.  How do they DO that?)

Another great event we attended during our week at The World was Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  This was a special event in the Magic Kingdom.  We all wore costumes (the opportunities for grown ups to masquerade are far too few, in my opinion).  Vivian was Snow White.  The rest of us, rather tall dwarfs.  The Boo To You! parade was probably the best one anywhere in the park.  Ditto the fireworks, Happy HalloWishes.  The trick-or-treating was tops!  Stations were set up all over the park and they didn’t scrimp on the candy.  Not only did they have good stuff, but they dropped it into our bags by the fistful (theirs, not ours).  I can’t remember being so full for an entire week.  Our trip truly provided us with an abundance of edibles and enchantment and we enjoyed every morsel of it. 
From Left: Doc (Sally), Prince Charming (?), Snow White
(Vivian), the other Snow White, Bashful (me),
Adorable (okay, we made that one up; it's Roland),
Tiny (that one too; Todd), Grumpy (my mother taking
her role very seriously)

Abundance is a funny thing.  I began to think about this while we were at WDW.  With so many possibilities before us, it almost felt as if we were obligated to try them all.  (Okay, this time it was a conscious decision.  But still . . .)  The temptation was to wolf down an item as quickly as possible to get to the next, then the next, then the next.  Eventually, we can find ourselves so determined to use every option, fit in every opportunity, that we barely know what we are taking in.

We do this with more than just our food.  I have seen vacationers with schedules so packed that they rush through historic sites, cameras clicking insanely, trying to consume it like a fast food burger before dashing on to the next attraction.  Imagine how much nicer it would be to breathe in a place, reflect on its significance, live in its time for a while.  At home, we schedule our kids and ourselves for every activity and sport until they and we have little time to think about or take pleasure in what we are actually doing.  Our lives become fanatically rushed and we experience less joy rather than more.  How much nicer would it be just to have a quiet afternoon every now and then?

Wouldn’t it be better to take in a little less, and learn to savor each thing?  A technique of doing this is actually advised for people who are trying to lose weight.  The idea is that we can gain more satisfaction from relishing what we have rather than stuffing ourselves with everything that might be possible.  I think this principle can apply equally to both food and life.

At the 3D event, I caught myself for the first time consciously tasting something; actually giving some new thing a moment of examination, thought and enjoyment before swallowing and moving on to the next.  It is an interesting habit that seems to have started right along with this blog.  Maybe I’m becoming a foodie after all. 

May you truly enjoy abundance this season!

Blessed eating!

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