Thursday, December 30, 2010
Feast for the Future
New years eve brings an ache of nostalgia that grows between sips of champagne, until at midnight you shatter your glass with a torrent of tears. Amidst showers of confetti, fireworks and cheers I feel the least excited. Rather my mind is flooded with unwelcome images of the past, present and future and I fall victim to a destructive onslaught of self reflection.
It is now one minute past Midnight on the 31st of December 2010 and I am putting fingers to keys. Whilst I am determined to not particularly mark the occasion there is a piece of writing that I must begin this New Years Eve. It is a story that weaves the time and places, heart ache and joy of 2010 together with food. It is a story that begins in May at a dinner party, when I realised I hadn't entertained my friends around a table since returning from Canada. A story that climaxed at my closing studio dinner. And a story that closes tonight, over a freshly brewed tea with my first ever tea pot. But most importantly it is a story punctuated in no succinct order with luscious moments of cheese (Amie), Bubbling pots of home made fig Jam (hiliary and naomi), and the torn leaves of an artichoke heart (Claire and the Jacarada tree). The stories will undoubtedly continue to accumulate throughout the years, but as I bow down to the trap of nostalgic reflection I notice that this year's key signifier of experience is food and I am compelled to try and give it some written justice.
1. Dinner in the Music Room. 26 Station St Newtown.
We are a small group of four, gathered around a turn of the century gas iron stove, that cooks our dinner proudly in Claire's beautiful kitchen. Though robust, the oven balances on four skinny legs that anchor to the black and white stone floor of the kitchen. Suspended above the oven is an old ladder that precariously exhibits various dried fruits and vegetables, the odd ladle and plenty of saucepans.
'Help yourself', invites claire, as she draws a large roasting pan from the oven and places it on the bench. Scooping a helping of roasted vegies from the pan I am dazzled by the purple skins of the potatoes and how they complement the orange of the pumpkin. Sweet too, are the whole baby lemons and bay leaves as their scent greets me on my dinner plate.
Guided into the next room we are met with the quaintest of spaces.
'This is the music room' claire proudly declares. 'It seemed only fitting that when I was given this immaculate piano I should dedicate a room to it'. And claire had industriously done so. The timber floors were polished, the walls and ornate architraves freshly painted, even the emerald green velvet couch had been told to steal less of the interior limelight so that the piano could have its rightful place. Spotted around the room were other instruments too, a guitar on a stand, a bongo drum. As we sat down to dinner at the circular timber table, the soft tea lights on their respective doilies illuminated the red wine in our glasses and claire told us the story of the piano.
'I had been wanting a piano for such a long time, asking around, speaking to friends, I was having no luck, but I thought if I just kept positive, put my energy out into the world that eventually the piano would find me. Then one day at work when I was life modelling, I was as usual taking my break in the stairwell -( where the acoustics are so amazing) and singing to myself. When one of the students approached me and said she had been listening to me sing and thought I would really appreciate her piano that she no longer needed. She was planning on delivering it to the tip but would happily bring it around to my house. And so by a lucky singing chance I inherited a piano ! It had had quite the voyage, transported from Berlin to London then to Australia and now a simple terrace in Newtown'.
As we continued to eat, claire refilling our glasses, we talked and muttered, hysterically laughed - it had been months since we had been together. Then, unceremoniously, claire got up and sat before the piano and performed a simple piece that she had been teaching herself. Slow and steady on the pedals a beautiful tune wafted throughout the now practised music and dining room.
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