There will be oysters, plump and briny; crabcakes crumbling open, corn and crawfish chowder.  Or, maybe, a leg of lamb sinking into French lentils, poached fleshy flounder, high-rising spoonbread that caves to the server’s spoon, okra from the field.  A souffle or tart or – dazzle me – what is a brown butter almond financier?  I’m driving 500 miles for supper.

My father celebrates the art of the kitchen; never more so than now, as swallowing muscles tire; a feeding tube is scheduled.  He still snips restaurant reviews from the newspaper, reading aloud to me their signature concoctions with a smile that savors each salty morsel conjured.  As his weight plummets, his appetite grows more refined, thoughtful, passionate.  Each meal is a moment of grace; he intends to find joy in it.

For this 80th birthday this week, I’m thinking: Babette’s Feast.  Legendary Frank Stitt in the kitchen at Highland Bar and Grill crafting a banquet of savory proportions, setting a long table overflowing in pleasure, plenty, and culinary perfection.  His family surrounding him. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! said the voice of the Psalms.  Time to nibble and nosh.

What do we celebrate, after all, if not the gifts of this earth made dear by their brief season?  I have taken too many bites without tasting each exploding pungency.  Stop.  What does it take to feel the edge of appetite every day?  My father’s smile teaches me a new gusto for the green sprouting leaves of things.  It’s time to let my body know exactly what zest it craves, and then to take a curious delight in the craving. Relish it. Feed it.  Give thanks with an electrified tongue.  Try a financier should it be offered, whatever it may be.  Lick. Nibble. Sip. Smack.  The feast is everywhere.  The moment to celebrate is always now.  Go the distance to feast with those you love.  Sup like it is your last meal.

More lessons from my father’s table:
Say grace.
Taste joy.
Be willing to be dazzled.

~ by Susan on 05/16/2010.

2 Responses to “ambrosial.leisurely.supping.”

  1. Thank you for writing so beautifully and honesty about so painful a subject. I just lost my father 2 months ago, and began to blog as the intensity of his dying and of being the parent of young children (one autistic) began to crash me. Your writing resonates deeply with me, and finding the blessings of the moments, and searing his final lucid days onto my memory were all a part of my journey, too. I hope you come visit me at The Squashed Bologna ( and find a connection, too.

  2. Happy Birthday to your dear father. Thank you for sharing him and his beautiful vision, his sentiments, his life of prayer and goodness, with us.

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