Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My way or the Hemingway: A Moveable Feast

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever
you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

- Ernest Hemingway, to a friend, in 1950

This quotation on the title page immediately drew me in, and I happily settled down to read my first ever Hemingway book, The Moveable Feast (1964, posthumously.) When Woody Allen's movie, Midnight in Paris, came out last year, I was a little surprised to realize I'd never read any of the classic Hemingway novels. Both the movie setting --Paris in the 1920s-- and the eccentricity of the Ernest Hemingway character sparked my interest, so when I found The Moveable Feast on the bookshelf here in my temporary "home away from home" in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, I picked it up and started tagging along on Hemingway's amusing adventures in 1920s Paris.

The Moveable Feast. The title strikes me as a metaphor for many periods in my own life, and specifically for life at the moment. Farmer John and I just left behind our now-pruned-and-dormant grapevines to take a winter break, a ski sojourn. We are now nearly a week into our 6 week ski/stay in Steamboat, staying in a beautiful, modern log cabin-style home, just west of town, via a home exchange. Our "exchange-partners in crime," Frank and Carol, are at our place in Sonoma Valley minding the KFV homestead and animals as they escape their cold, snowy winter for a while.

The plan for 30+ days of skiing as the core of outdoor enjoyment is how we select our locale. But one of the main reasons we love doing home exchanges for these extended trips is that we can really make ourselves comfortably "at home" somewhere. For us, home is less about the specific place, and more about indulging ourselves in our favorite "normal" indoor activities, including reading, writing, eating and drinking, watching televised sports, and last but not least, cooking for and with friends. Home is one of our favorite places to hang out. So finding and temporarily transporting our lives to someone else's well-loved, and beautifully-maintained home that quickly becomes "home" for us is a perfect choice.

As I feasted on the early chapters of The Moveable Feast, John was in the kitchen transforming dough into his famous pizza crust. He had started making the dough 36 hours earlier, just as he does at home. And he used his natural yeast, sourdough starter that he's been keeping alive and growing for more than 6 years, brought with us from home. And he mixed it with his 525 watt KitchenAid mixer that he brought from home. The pizza baking stone and peel, also brought from home. And the inspiration for the pie? Yup, from home! The night before the long drive to Colorado, we had dinner at our local favorite, Pizzeria Rosso, and tried for the first time their "Goomba" pie, a pizza lightly topped with spaghetti and meatballs. Seriously! I was skeptical, but quickly won over by the light touch and the incredible melding of the topping with the crust.

Assembling the toppings on the "Goomba 'Za"

In our refrigerator here in Steamboat was a little leftover spaghetti and sausage from dinner a few days prior. I roasted a red pepper, sliced a little fresh mozzarella, and we had our pizza toppings. Salad was radicchio and lettuce from our Sonoma garden, tossed with some Biale olive oil and lemon juice. And though I rarely do so, I chose the wine to go with the Goomba pie: our friend Michael Muscardini's 2009 Sangiovese from the Monte Rosso Vineyard in Sonoma Valley.

Lots of S-es: Sonoma-Style Saturday Supper Surfaced
in Steamboat Springs; Served with Sangiovese.

With only the tiniest bit of a buzz on, I realized that what we had here was our own version of a moveable feast! To borrow from and expand on Hemingway's quote, Home is a Moveable Feast! Not just the food and wine, but also the way of living and loving life. My way or the Hemingway... who knew they'd be so similar?! And who knew that this Hemingway newbie would discover this connection so immediately and intimately... and feel compelled to write about it? Hemingway suggested that as a writer, he would write what he saw as being true, and that in doing so, he would be well on the way to writing something that is good. Mmhmm. Indeed.

Papa Hemingway and Kitty

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