of chestnuts and plenty

Happy New Year! The first day of the year is a good day for talking about a healthy start and new beginnings. Its a day for fruit salads and resolutions. But we lived so much in every inch and corner of last year that its spilled over into this one. Resolutions will have to wait. Today, Im still reflecting.

Last year was full—full of blessings. Of celebrations and new things. It was a year of grabbing each moment and living in it a little more richly—allowing space and time for doing or cooking or eating or learning something that grabbed my attention at a given time, a freer form of living I learned from my sweet husband. I spent more time luxuriating over details on the garden. I splurged a little on that fine stinky cheese or handmade chestnut raviolis at Eataly, despite the knowledge that I could make (the later) at home for half the cost.  I enjoyed the craft of crackly crust breads I dream of making myself, and not for a minute regretted that I havent gotten to that yet.

Last year, I read books, books like The Invisible Bridge and The Shoemaker's Wife, which let me travel far beyond our four walls, let my mind and soul soar to new places and times, like a tiny village of the Bergamo Alta in the Italian Alps at the turn of the last century.  It is there that I imagined this meal, and how it came to be in our table—a meal from the time of artisans, when handcrafted foods unassumingly filled our kitchens—a time of hand cut ravioli and Robiola that aged in the cellar of every family home. It left such an impression on my soul that when Gourmet asked me what my best meal of the year was, this one came immediately to mind. Its now a part of their collection of the Best Things We Ate in 2012 on Gourmet Live, and one of dozens of memorable meals, moments, and riches I count among my own year's bests.


I always thought it odd that in our culture on New Years Eve, we party until the ball drops, and start the New Year pulling our pillows over our eyes. Im much more inclined to want to sit around a table with good friends and a generous spread of food, as we did last night, giving thanks for the plenty in our lives—the friendships, our dear families, good health—and then, at home quietly in our beds, think about what we want to carry forward into 2013: meals like this one, the love of color and texture and intoxicating photography, the instinct to stop long enough and often enough to write down the amazing things our tiny girl is saying and learning, to savor the pink of her cheeks and lips when she first wakes up, to keep dreaming about making my own crackly crust breads, and when I can not, keep treating myself to those made by others.

More than anything else, I want to carry forward gratitude—gratitude to God for all the tremendous opportunities weve been given; Gratitude to our friends, our family, our communities for making life rich, and for believing in our little family; Gratitude to all of you who come here to read and be fed. I hope youll keep coming, and most importantly, I hope your new year is full of plenty. 

Photos and Recipes © Sarah Copeland 2013
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chitchatchomp@yahoo.com.au said...

Such beautiful photos which are making me drool just a little. Happy New Year to you! Leigh

Unknown said...

Such a gorgeous post in both words and photos. Happy New Year to you and yours and, if you ever need someone to eat chestnut pasta with, you can count on me! -Aida

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New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.