Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Wisdom of Celebrating with Food

Over the weekend I was on the phone with my grandmother telling her about our cozy anniversary dinner at Pace in the Canyon in Laurel Canyon.  Pace is the Italian word for peace.  She was so pleased we used her gift money marking the occasion in this way.  She simply observed, "it's good to do something different to celebrate the day." 

Photo Credit: Minx Society
We chose this restaurant not only for it's remarkable food (click here if you want to see the menu), but almost more importantly for its atmosphere.  One of the very few outpost locations still around from the 20's, this tucked-in-the-Hollywood Hills gathering spot is in a European cave-like setting.  I love places like these where you feel like you are part of a secret.  The restaurant is technically in the basement of the upstairs country grocer and is just steps from where Jim Morrison used to live.  Yes, this is old hippie territory and really only locals know about it.

Photo Credit: Zagat
So what is it in our human make up that triggers the innate sense of celebration with food and drink?  Maybe even more so as we get older?  I keep coming back to this question throughout the holiday season.  With the obvious Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's celebrations, this time of year for me also includes an anniversary and a birthday.  Unfortunately, in the background but no less important are the recent passings that also happened in my sphere.  All of these events have been punctuated with food....special food which brings people together.

Food does several things.  It brings us nourishment.  Food is emotional; spiritual to some. And we all require food to continue living.  Factor in our need for socialization, a reason or excuse to celebrate or honor an event no matter how big or small, brings all these things together in the most satisfying of ways.

Whether you are into the art of preparing a celebratory meal, recreating a family tradition or choosing to celebrate the fact you finally got together with a friend when schedules are so hectic, I'd like to think that uniting around our food is a superb way of living in the present and "doing something different to celebrate the day."

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