June 8, 2013

A Safe Harbor

As I was shooting my photos, I realized that recently my posts have been gravitating around food... and my blog wasn't supposed to be a food blog... and I have never been a good cook (it has always been my man's honor)... But the more I think about it, the more I convince myself that food is one of the greatest simple pleasures in life... The more I think about it, the more I realize that almost every memory of my childhood relates to food, in one way or another - the best chicken soup that my granny cooks with chickens she farms, the porridge in the morning made with milk from the neighbour's cow, the best ever veggies, fruits and herbs that come directly from the garden, mom's stew on the first cold day of fall, the homemade birthday cakes, the dinner on the table that despite of your schedule, it is a meal that must be shared with the whole family...
The more I think about food, the more I understand that food is not only a basic necessity for our physical well-being, but more so, a shared pleasure that plays a significant role in people's perception of happiness and feeds human souls, a safe harbor that gives a sense of belonging and dignity...
It makes a difference when you eat your meal by yourself or you share it with somebody else, right?
When someone asked the film critic Roger Ebert, who was no longer able to eat and drink, if he misses it, he wrote one of the best article about it. "... So that's what's sad about not eating. The loss of dining, not the loss of food. It may be personal, but for, unless I'm alone, it doesn't involve dinner if it doesn't involve talking. The food and drink I can do without easily. The jokes, gossip, laughs, arguments and shared memories I miss. Sentences beginning with the words, "Remember that time?" I ran in crowds where anyone was likely to break out in a poetry recitation at any time. Me too. But not me anymore. So yes, it's sad..."
One of my favorite things to do is to prepare a meal along side my husband, to set a table and to share it with my family and friends. The table and its simple pleasures, the ordinary art of sharing food, time, stories, tears, hope, is what sustains life and nourishes my soul. It took me time and experiences, especially of a mother, to come to that conclusion...
Then, something else is coming to mind - I can't remember my grandma talking about "healthy" eating. It never occurs to her that what she is cooking will not serve our bodies. Today, we are obsessive about our diets and often see food only as body nutrition and contradicting results of scientific researches. Yesterday, the coffee wasn't beneficial for my health at all, today-it is... Our sons are begging for ice creams and a piece of cake while we are waiting on the drive-thru lines or eating in the cars, the food in the stores is full of ingredients we can barely read unless we are chemists, processed foods have become more the rule than the exception, we suffer from eating disorders, we eat fancy dishes we can't pronounce... the joy has been taken out of food, the eating has become more of an afterthought... we know more about food and less about our physiological health...

It is time to return to a place of harmony with food, when eating is meant to nourish and sustain not only the individual, but more so, the family and the community.

The answer seems simple to me: eat like our grandmas' generation have ever eaten, "eat the blessed earth", enjoy the seasons abundance, buy from the farmer's market if you don't have a garden, practice moderation and mindfulness, invite to your table and share with others...

Today on our table, our safe harbour, you will find the taste of early summer and I am more than happy to share it with you. My blog is about the simple pleasures, after all...

See what grandmothers cook around the world here.

Green and Yellow Bean Salad 


400 g green and yellow beans, ends trimmed
1 cup rainbow heirloom tomatoes, or any other tomatoes, halved
2 green onions, minced
1 avocado, sliced (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper


Cook beans in a large pot of boiling water until tender-crisp, about 2-5minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Pat dry and transfer to a large serving tray with tomatoes, onion, avocado and basil. Whisk oil with vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss salad with dressing and serve.

Kids Friendly Wrapped Green Beans

Using a store-bought dough, you can create a wonderful, appealing snack for your picky eater.
Heat oven to 375F. Grease a baking sheet. Unroll dough. Sprinkle basil over each piece of dough. Place the tender- crisp green beans over one side of the dough and roll. Toss each bundle with black pepper or sesame seeds. Bake for about 15- 20 minutes.

Thank you!

Sharing at Seasonal SundaysOur Sunday Best


  1. I have missed you so much. I missed reading your mind, savoring your photos, and I missed you coming to my post last week where I featured NOTHING BUT my own photos of my house and gardens!!!!

    But it is wonderful to see these amazing and textures photos here Sylvia; and you top it off not only with recipes, but with one of my favorite poets, MARY OLIVER. How true, we eat of the blessed earth, and that is a part of this life to celebrate, as well as the family and friends surrounding these great feasts!

    Welcome back to posting my friend, and enjoy your weekend! Anita

  2. Another lovely post and I think you are right,we need to go back to eating the way our grandparents did.

    Enjoy your weekend,

  3. OMG you take the most beautiful pictures - just GORGEOUS.

    I love ivory/brown/green combos - my favorite - just adore this post!

  4. I find this post both comforting and inspiring. Your words ring true ~ simple pleasures of sharing healthy basic food at ones table with family and friends. Happy Summer! ~ Sarah

  5. Wonderful, great pictures and recipes!Thank you for opening new direstions on taste and sending us beauty!

  6. My darling friend!

    Thank you so much for coming to see my house and gardens- that post is special to me since it's the first time I have used nothing BUT my own photos and also the transformation of the house we live in.

    Also, thank you for visiting my other post. It means a lot to me. Enjoy your summer dear friend, and cook up a STORM! Oh these are such lovely photos! Anita

  7. That is a beautiful table. I have been working I the yard for hours yesterday and the last thing on my mind was doing a tablescape....now I am inspired. Thanks!

  8. Your words are as delightful as the food itself.

  9. Such a beautiful post again Sylvia! Your photo's make me want to go to the kitchen straight away and start cooking!

    Happy week!

    Madelief x

  10. It doesn't matter what you post about, girlie! Your photos are food for the soul! :)

    xoxo laurie

  11. Such a beautiful message and magnificent photos.

    Great to have you at Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  12. Oh my goodness! What a beautiful post. It gave me some reflection and gratitude for what I do have. And as usual, I always love your photos. Food is important. But, sharing is what it is all about!

  13. I enjoyed reading your thoughtful post about the pleasures of eating good photo and seeing your wonderful photographs. The bean salad looks delicious!


  14. I loved that link, my dear, it's fascinating and beautiful...how about that iguana??! :)
    A splendid, glorious post....dearest Sylvia...thank you and Amen to all you say here....
    Mary Oliver....oh yes. A woman who speaks the truth in the most profound way...like you! :)
    So much wisdom here, my dear friend and sister....
    Your photos are stunning as ever.
    And you know....I make a salad quite similar to yours, but I have discovered WHITE balsamic vinegar...have you tried it? Delicious.
    Much love to you,
    - Irina

  15. What a lovely post! I agree, food for me is so much about the experience of it, and the nourishment of real food. Love it all!

    1. Loved it so much we featured it! ;)


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