Saturday, January 25, 2014

Banon in the sun, part two



The date above the door is carved in a distinctive script, "1553." I have to think about that for a moment. This beautiful doorway has been here for 461 years. As hard as I try, I can almost bend my mind around that fact and yet not quite. Newness and the space of time are relative, especially if it is true what Stephen Hawking is touting, that there are no Black Holes (thank you Laoch for the link). 


Perhaps best then just to skim on the surface of pleasing beauty. Most certainly as I am still escaping to the warmth of a November sun, all while shivering (literally) at my desk as the temperatures dip into a playful late January curtsy outside my window pane. 


Remi has been out of town since Tuesday and time has been lolling like shadows. It is funny how much we are each other's clocks, I tend to forget.


"Are you lonely?" my Mom asked the other day on the phone. "Oh, no. No, not at all," I responded.


As I talk to Ben and Kipling far too often, I haven't even had the surprise of hearing my voice spark out loud late on in the day...


...but rather have used this extra, spongy space around me to rethink and reboot a bit.


The words "Have Faith" sprung to mind on the morning of Remi's departure. They didn't have such a literal form but were more of a suggestion to believe that the cup is half full, not empty...


...and that there is still much to learn, to discover, to try.


That said, I have finally, gently dipped my toe into the world of Instagram. Now, as a professional photographer's companion, I am usually staunchly against such sites that have the ability to sell their user's images as royalty-free (which is also why I am anti-Pinterest, to read my thoughts about the subject, click here). But I am enjoying seeing the quick glimpses of the lives of my friends around the world. I get it. And besides, the quality of the images that I am taking on my ancient iphone 3 are not exactly sellable material!


As I mentioned on Instagram, I have also been eating differently as I am cooking only for myself and that too has been "food for thought." This means that I have been really enjoying my vegetables and feeling the better for it.


Remi and I actually stopped buying industrial meat last year. When we go up to Banon, we stop in at an excellent butcher (located just behind where this last photo was taken) to stock up on pork and lamb that was raised by local producers under the best of conditions. We freeze the extras when we get back and then parcel them out sparingly over the next few months. The taste is incomparable to the grocery-store equivalent and so a little goes a long way. In French culinary culture, it is a big shift to go towards a flexitarian or "meat as an accompaniment, not always the main ingredient" type of thinking but it is working for us, even if the changes are taking place gradually. 

In thinking about the date on that 16th century door, I can wonder how the people of that time ate on the other side of it as well. Simpler, I am willing to hazard. Sugar and meats were certainly a luxury as they were prohibitively expensive. 

I don't want to just sleepwalk through the preparation of our meals (nor the perpetual presence of a baguette on our table, even if this is France) and have come across a few articles about the "hows and whys" of our diets lately that have really caught my attention: 

Mark Bittman's "Sustainable Resolutions for your Diet" in the New York Times - here
The Head Butler's interview with Dr. David Perlmutter, author of "Grain Brain" - here
Photographer Carla Coulson's dietary treatment in response to being diagnosed with Graves Disease (plus many interesting health links) - here
My friend D.A. Wolf's fun but insightful piece on how to rethink weight gain - here

All of them make good sense to me and so I thought that it might be of interest to you as well, despite it not being the typical Lost in Arles fare. What do you think? Have you made any dietary shifts over the past year or hope to in 2014? Any thoughts or information to share? No matter what, I know that I hope to find a workable, pleasurable balance for this is the "stuff of life"! 

And on that note, I'll leave you with a quote, provided by Edgar at simpleimages2
“Not what we have but what we enjoy constitutes abundance”.-Epicurus
I love that.

To listen: WBGO . They are currently playing Louis Prima-esque tunes, helpful when dancing around trying to stay warm - including, in a truly laugh-inducing coincidence, the Little Richard tune that the lovely Vickie Lester spoke of only yesterday here.


May the rest of your weekend be full of much abundance and joy...

37 comments:

D A Wolf said...

Your words and your lens always invite me to slow down, Heather. And it's needed as well as appreciated.

And merci for the mention! You know how I've struggled with the issues of weight and body image. It's important that we keep talking about them, and focusing on health.

Bisous et bon weekend,
D. A.

Judith Ross said...

Hi Heather, Because I don't own a "smart" phone right now, or have an iPad, I can't "follow" you on Instagram, but if I had the link (which I didn't see in this post) I could take a peek now and then.

Your post is beautiful. I was going to suggest the Bittman article, so am glad that you read it. I struggled with my weight when I was younger and I found that its really about developing good eating habits, rather than going on a diet.

We also try to stick with healthfully raised meat. We had some luscious ground lamb that we bought at alocal purveyor in Point Reyes Station. Sadly they were closed when we went back to get some dried gizzards as a treat for Karina, though I suppose our return was reward enough -- she was the picture of ecstasy when we picked her up from our friend.

But I digress: while in Morocco, we ate loads of mostly cooked vegetables with only a small amount of meat that was divided up among the diners when we were finishing off the communal bowl of cous cous. "Stick to your own triangle, was our son's advice!

This is a fabulous post and I am diving right into the photographs, but the portrait of Kipling and Ben says so much.

Gros bisous.

Karena Albert said...

Heather your life is a dream to me...I can only imagine what standing in the ancient doorway would feel like, as it has been awhile since I have traveled. You are igniting the wanderlust in me!

xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena

Faux Fuchsia said...

what a beautiful group of photos.

I drink much less alcohol than I once did. I've lost weight and feel better for it.

x

puppyfur said...

Last year I redid my diet, and lost 30 lbs. cut out most "white" foods, including sugar. But most of all, the weight loss and sustain is due to walking, like crazy! I walk about 1 1/2 hrs a day, some days two. I am lucky, of course, to have the time to take. And Rémy needs his walks!

puppyfur said...

Oh, and by the way, those photos are gorgeous and I look forward to seeing your work on Instagram.

Silke Bauer said...

Again such wonderful photos in colours, details and architecture. I mean, ok I said that often but I mean it!

As a graphic designer I know about the practise of the stock photo agencys like Fotolia, etc. Difficult question who is to blame, the advertising agency or the clients who are nowadays used to pay pretty low prices. My wages have decreased too in comparison to ten years ago.

Well, lets talk about more pleasant things: I was very much inspired by your post with the link to eattodefendcancer.org and since then together with my companion I even more enjoy to cook with a lot of vegetables, tofu, fresh herbs.
( I have become a fresh coriander and ginger addict!) We are "nearly" vegetarians and buy meat only at the bio producer. Since two years I have access to a very strict bio producer and I must say since then my life or at least my food has changed. It is so very different and so much fun to eat vegetables coming freshly out of the earth. Such variation, I now eat vegetables I had not even seen before...And it really helps my immune system.

Hey, it looks as if Ben and Kipling get along well together! I Always love to see pictures of them

Silke Bauer said...

"eattodefeatcancer.org" of course! ahem..

La Contessa said...

1553………….WOW.
I need help on Instagram!I just wrote a post about that……
ANd yes, I too have an eating problem……which makes me GLUTEN FREE.
Those BOYS are adorable on the carpet!

silkannthreades said...

Spongy space sounds so comfortable. I think Ben and Kingsley have found some ;)

edgarone2 said...

I like the way you tickle fancy and the pleasing way to tease out the beauty of places you visit, the silent doors and closed windows, simultaneous meanings of learning and discovery, and the path we should be taking.

Fresh things from the market are the first essentials of great tastes, “taste is incomparable”.Yes.

Mrs. Abstract is away, visiting her sister in the East Coast who celebrates her 50th birthday today. You have culinary knowledge I don’t have. I plan to survive on sautéing, microwave(ing), and cooking with eggs as the secret ingredient and plan to eat at home.

Thank you for mentioning the quotation.

Enjoy the weekend.

Jeanne Henriques said...

Such a nice surprise to see you in IG this morning...I shall happily follow you wherever you go Heather. Lovely thoughtful photos...and your suggestions for eating without guilt are most appreciated. Those two boys of yours are precious...and Edgar's posts, always inspiring.

Best wishes...stay warm and thank you for your kind note..xx

Mumbai said...

very busy and staying in hotels healthy eating is very difficult at the moment. My husband leave in a couple of days for nearly 6/8 weeks (ooh, in 35 yrs. we were never separated for so long ) and I will move in our new PH we have
found at least. Then I start cooking in my "old way"...lot's of vegetarian, fish etc. I buy only lamb and eco beef for
once a week, and once a week we eat without a guilt ..dessert, wine and not watching cal. Similar to Epicur's words... Luck is not to have what you like, luck is to love what you have got.

Maywyn Studio said...

Lovely post. Thank you
My menu has change to (almost) gluten free, and the better I feel for it. The pancake mix is devine. Before gluten free, pancakes weren't on my morning menu. Balance is the meal guide that works for me. If I have this now, then I can't or can have that later thing.

About Pinterest...I believe the advertising value of Pinterest is great enough for artists to designate some of their work for sights like Pinterest to reach a wider audience. One fantastic pinned on Pinterest photo, I feel, has amazing potential. On Tumblr where so many images are sourceless/no photographer's name or original source, I can see not going there. All in all, I this blog itself has brough you and Remi to a wider audience.

Loree said...

Those two pups are adorable. I just graduated to a Smartphone last Christmas and am thinking of joining Instagram but not sure I have the time for it. I am not taking that many photos lately, which is annoying me a great deal but I have not had the time. Maybe next weekend :)

Suze said...

The shadows cast in the third image are extraordinary. They look like the ghosts of arrows. And the sky behind the clock tower actually inspired pain.

The idea of not sleepwalking through what you prepare eat is not only redolent with wisdom but needful and sane. My heart is knit with yours on that one, H.

Suze said...

prepare 'to' eat :)

Heather Robinson said...

And I love HOW you talk about those delicate subjects too DA...
Bisous à toi aussi...

Heather Robinson said...

I can't imagine you as anything but the skinny miss you are, so thank you for saying that. You know, I was thin for most of my adult life and completely took it for granted. Well, let's just say that twelve years in France have taken their toll! And I can still eat what I love, I just need to be more aware of what I simply crave and what is right for me...
xo

Heather Robinson said...

That doorway blew me away too Karena. And thank goodness for the internet to let us travel!

Heather Robinson said...

That makes a lot of sense to me. Alas, red wine is my peché mignon!

Heather Robinson said...

30 pounds? Holy Cow! Bravo!!!! And when you say "white" foods does that include dairy? I know that would be a struggle for me. And I do get in over an hour of walking each day because of the puppers but as they want to stop and sniff everything it isn't exactly at a pace to be called "excercise"!

Heather Robinson said...

Thank youuu!! I am just getting started. Still figuring it out...

Heather Robinson said...

Hmmm...Silke, it makes me sad to hear that you have been hit hard by this shift too although it isn't surprising. For us, it has been a huge shift.

And yes, vegetables! I know how lucky I am to be able to get such good produce for so cheaply. I certainly saw when I was in the States that it isn't always the case there. And fresh coriander and ginger? Hooray! Add garlic and you have three of my very favorites. Using coriander in guacamole tonight. :)

Heather Robinson said...

Wow. You are now gluten-free? Yes! I remember that you were looking for gluten-free bakeries in Paris but somehow I thought that it was for your sons. Has it changed your health?

Heather Robinson said...

Such a brilliant comment! And too true... ;)

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you Edgar, I did and I hope that you did as well! And no judgement here, when Remi is away usually I am a pb&j girl! But this time, for some reason, I really wanted to cook vegetarian. Since I have been on a massive roasted veggies kick, it is easy too. Slice 'em up, dribble olive oil with s&p, roast, eat!

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you friend and for your encouragement about IG. Truly I LOVE seeing the snaps of friends lives all over the world. It is so different from a blog post. And I will follow you wherever you go as well! But you already knew that. :)
Bisous...

Heather Robinson said...

I love your eating plan, Mumbai. But oh, how I feel sorry that your Husband is going to be gone for so long! Are you back in a town where you have friends from before? If not your internet friends are here for you...
PS. Do you like your new place?

Heather Robinson said...

I understand what you are saying but don't entirely agree, certainly where a professional such as Remi is concerned. Truly, we have been hardly hit by this shift in mind-set and Pinterest is just a part of the picture...

And I am interested in heading towards as little gluten as possible. And even changed my beloved coffee for tea this morning! We'll see. And your meal guide sounds a lot like how many French women are and look how thin they are!!!

Heather Robinson said...

Oh Loree, please, please, please!!! I actually thought of you and know that I am not alone in that I would LOVE to see glimpses of your everyday life. You live in such a special place. And for me, I am not worrying about how much that I take. When I see a photo and have my phone with me ok, but otherwise I am not going to stress about it. Please keep me posted if you do!

Heather Robinson said...

And in some other important ways too methinks dear Suzahmathoozala.

But I do think that I have been cooking a bit on automatic pilot for the past few years. Or cooking for the way that is more traditional (a main dish, usually with meat, fish or poultry plus a side) and not necessarily how I want to eat!

PS. "ghosts of arrows" is just gorgeous...whew...

Silke Bauer said...

Of course garlic! How could I forget? (;

Silke Bauer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

Ditching the dairy has been the worst experience! I am British, after all, and we love our milky tea. Trying to keep going as it does seem perverse to eat cow's milk meant to grow 300lb baby cows. I do feel 'cleaner' but how could I keep this up in France?? :-)

Heather Robinson said...

Honestly? I don't know!! While I have also stopped milk in my tea...well...Cheese???? Farm eggs???? Ay yai yai I can't imagine! :à

puppyfur said...

Sorry for the late reply...no, milk and dairy are okay. White foods in my case is bread, rice, pasta, sugar, etc. it's still working, thankfully. I walk with Rémy, so there's a bit of stopping and sniffing but in between we go along fairly fast, so it's enough! Bonne chance, Heather. <3