“A child of five could understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.” ~ Groucho Marx
Somewhere in our attempt at keeping up with the Jones, we seem to have lost our connection to the simple pleasures of life. Society and media encourage us towards more and more expensive, grandiose and pretentious tastes. Whereas everyday gems are long forgotten, even dismissed for their ordinariness. But that is the challenge that we humans face.
We tend to take our gifts for granted. Unless they come wrapped in fancy trappings and are difficult to obtain, we seem to miss their intrinsic value.
What would it be like to actually appreciate the presence of the many unadorned gifts in your daily life? The flowering of your terrace plant, the smile on your child’s lips, the appreciative glimmer in your partner’s eyes, the colorful sunset over a soothing sea? We starve ourselves of these daily blessings by failing to notice them. Instead, we are distracted by our impatient cravings for the rare designer label, the exotic vacation to far off lands, or more commonly, the validation of having provoked envy in others through the obtainment of such symbols of success.
Consider how your food preferences can remind you of all this. Despite all the expensive restaurant meals, lavish parties, complicated recipes and exotic ingredients that you may have already sampled, your regular favorite is likely to be a basic, home cooked meal. Perhaps the jhunka-bhakar for the Maharashtrian, or the sambar-rice for the Tamilian. No matter which part of the world you come from, your own preferred fare will most likely be one of the simplest dishes of the region. For example, one of the most popular pizzas in Italy is the original Margherita, which has only tomato, mozzarella, and basil. Now, isn’t that food for thought?
So while I am not dissuading you from your ambitions and aspirations, what I am proposing is that you re-discover an appreciation for the day-to-day ordinariness around you. You may be amazed at how much is going unnoticed. If you need any help, as Groucho suggested, call for a child.
After all, they say God is in the details. We just need to look.
This post was inspired by the extraordinary taste, nourishment and satisfaction provided by this uncomplicated dish… The slow cooking and light herbs proved ideal in bringing out the nuanced taste of each vegetable in generous deliciousness.
Coat onions in salt and oil, roast for 10 minutes.
Mix rest of dressing, toss and coat vegetables.
Add roasted onions on top.
Cover dish with aluminium foil.
Bake at 230 C for 40 minutes.
- Optional topping of crumbled feta and paprika