It’s the Simple Stuff

3 Oct

A Facebook post by a work colleague, Stephen T, over the weekend, in which he extolled the virtues of a weekend of simple pleasures including time camping with his daughter, wife, grandson and dogs, a ride on his motorcycle, and a glass of wine got me thinking about how much I also enjoy the simple things. I think this desire to enjoy simplicity is often driven by the world we live in – and the place. The world has become much faster – there is no denying it. What used to take days takes minutes. What used to take hours, now takes seconds. What used to take minutes happened instantly. Case in point – the Amanda Knox verdict – it happened in Italy this afternoon. We knew about it in the US seconds later. The “news alert” was zapped to my iPhone via text alert. Fast.

Anyway, not what this post is about. What it is about are simple things that I love. Last night we had a simple dinner. It was FANTASTIC. Chicken roasted on the grill, with baked potatoes, steamed broccolini, french bread and a glass of wine. The chicken was prepared as simple as it gets – a little olive oil rubbed on the skin, a generous sprinkle of salt inside and out, a good grind of pepper over the skin, and then cooked old-school style on my charcoal Weber grill. SIMPLE.

Other simple pleasures I love? A beer, enjoyed standing in the back yard on a Sunday afternoon after doing some yard work. Waxing the car by hand. A walk with the dog. Sitting and playing my guitar. A drink with a good pal: last evening, after 9:30, I floated over to my pal GASHM’s house and he and I enjoyed a bourbon on the rocks while sitting by the outdoor firepit, just chatting.

Time spent with Robin of course is high on the list, but our favorite times are always just simple. Reading in bed. Watching TV together. Going grocery shopping together. Going for a walk together. Farm stands and farmers markets (I could do a whole post on just that one!) – going, picking out fresh stuff for dinner and enjoying a cup of coffee while we enjoy the time together.

In food, while I love cooking exotic and complex things, it is the simple stuff, like the chicken from last night that jazzes me. I love perfecting the simple. A perfectly cooked medium rare steak. A proper burger. A perfectly cooked fried egg where the yolk is hot but still runny, but the whites are firm. A hot dog. A proper martini. Hot chocolate made with milk and Hershey’s syrup. Popcorn, not cooked in a microwave, but in a pan on the stove. Simple stuff.

I know this is starting to read like the song “Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens and all that. But seriously, in this tech-driven, instantaneous, real time, 24x7x365, debit card, Amazon.com next day delivery, Instant Queue, Xfinity world of ours, isn’t it a treat to put down the smart phone, iPad, Android, PC, Mac, turbocharged, direct-injected stuff and enjoy the basics? There’s such a push at all times to just “go and do” … gotta go do things, gotta go places to do them, etc. Yeesh! How about “Don’t go. Don’t do.” instead?

So, after you read this, of course, sign off the tech. Put aside the smart phone and the iPad, clip the leash on the dog and go for a walk. Give a good friend a call and go have a beer. Cook something for dinner that didn’t come in a package, and use only salt and pepper to season it. Enjoy a glass of wine, or a cold beer, or a hot cup of tea. Hold hands with your loved one. Make chocolate chip cookies. Dunk one in a cold glass of milk.

And revel in the simplicity of it.

As you were,

Stew

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