Even when life deals us blows and it’s hard to see the joy through the fog, it’s truly amazing how a little planned happy occasion – here and there – can lift our countenance. And sometimes we just have to declare that we’re going to have a GREAT day and, above all, have a good time.
Okay, I borrowed this declaration from Julia Child.
Okay, okay. More specifically, I borrowed this from Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck from their wonderful and timeless cookbook, Mastering The Art of French Cooking.
If you have this classic cookbook (and you should!), open to the first four pages of the “forward” and flip to the final sentence. Yep, there it is. Those six beautiful words:
Above all, have a good time.
I started musing about this little phrase. What does it mean? Is it a focus on the flippant? The trivial? Is this
I like to think it’s about rejoicing in spontaneity. Or – if you’re a planner like me – planning to be spontaneous and adding in joyful touch points throughout the day and/or week.
And since Ms. Childs, Ms. Bertholle, and Ms. Beck were writing SPECIFICIALLY about food… so shall I.
Here are a few ways that I am trying to “have a good time, above all.” Do any of them resonate with you? What would you add?
Start an informal cookbook club.
I found an old copy of Mastering The Art of French Cooking in my dad’s library and gifted it to my niece, Codi Lynn. We just started going through the book, starting at the very beginning. No chapter is too small, including chapter titles such as Kitchen Equipment, Definitions, Measures, Temperatures, and so forth. I can tell it’s going to be a blast as we eat – and learn – our way through.
Simultaneously, I have another informal cookbook club going with my niece Kelly and her mom (my sis), Stacey. We’re picking recipes to cook together via long distance and sharing our before/after photos and tips along the way via our Signal groupchat.
Our cookbook is Israeli Soul by Michael Solomonov and his recipe for Goldie Falafels are amazzzzzzing! We each cooked them a separate ways via oven and air fryer and shared our results. (Air fryer for the win!)
Find a favorite location that forces you to slow down.
My favorite get-away spot is the Sonnenalp resort in Vail, Colorado. This place oooozes alpine charm and we have our favorite spots all throughout the village.
Ludwig’s restaurant at the Sonnenalp serves a breakfast that just * makes * you want to slow down and savor every sip, every bite. And so, we do. I always look forward to their hand-painted and larger than life (okay, larger than my hand!) coffee mugs.
Dennis and I create this same sort of slowing down mood on our back deck or down by the lake. A plate of nibbles here. Tapas there. A glass of vino and brie.
Sometimes, I schedule time for my laptop and me and go find a coffee shop or restaurant that will allow me to just sit for a while and sip. Sometimes all it takes is forty-five minutes and bam – just like that – I’m rejuvenated again.
Set aside a special mug only for use on Saturdays.
Speaking of special mugs… Dennis and I have a pair of the prettiest Adirondack-green coffee mugs that we only save for Saturday mornings. We actually look forward to waking up and pulling down those mugs from the cupboard every Saturday morning.
Try setting aside a favorite mug for a special day and you’ll be surprised how it adds a special touch. Pick a day. Any day.
Perhaps a Monday-morning-only mug to start the week off right?
Experiment in the kitchen.
You all know how I keep harping on about using those appliances, gadgets, pantry/freezer/fridge stock items, right? Well, one way to have a good time is to browse your cookbooks – or Pinterest – and schedule a time when you can experiment in the kitchen in leisure.
How about learning what to do with a specific spice, like za’atar? Or a new technique like poaching eggs or making your own whipped cream?
Right now I am learning how to dehydrate foods in my dehydrator and using my Instant Pot to its best advance. I’ve been making yogurt and crème brulee and it’s awesome!
Do any of these resonate with you? What would you add?
I truly hope that if you’re feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, or just caught up in all the responsibilities of life… that you are able to force yourself to slow down.
I get it. I feel ya. Sometimes it’s a mountain to climb…
… but other times?
Other times are meant to pause, breathe, and above all, have a good time.