“My summer on a farm in France” manages its way into most conversations (and blog posts for that matter). Close friends and family sigh when they hear those seven pretentious words.
I promise it’s not intentional. I don’t consider it my peak—that was obviously my Grade 12 year.
And so with all that in mind, let me proceed to my intended opener: during the summer I spent on a farm in France, I discovered the joys of summertime lunches. Lunch customary occurred around 1:30 pm everyday. We ate at a lazily set table, enjoying two lingering courses and conversation. Afterwards, we napped or read in the sun before returning to farm work in the late afternoon. Sunday lunch was more elaborate—blanquette de veau perhaps—and a freshly baked tart or Far breton aux pruneaux to finish, but still relaxed and fun.
Meanwhile, dinners were often some reheated leftovers and a yogurt for dessert. It was typically rushed and frenzied; a necessary snack to allow rumbling stomachs to sleep quiet through the night.
Thusly I developed a fondness for lunchtime, leisurely and thoughtful in nature. Since then I’ve adopted such an approach to my summers in the city in Canada. (Gah, it just doesn’t have the same effect as “on a farm in France”.)
And it’s logical. (At least as a student or free-lancer/occasionally unemployed like myself.) Our evenings are long and, as the sun sets, cooler than during the day.
So that’s when you go out.
And, no, not clubbing. I do not club. If you live in an urban centre, you attend outdoor events, swim in public pools, laze about on a patio or in parks. Even away from the city, nighttime activities or at least the opportunity for them abound. Don’t let dinner clutter up the evening hours or upset plans. Fuel up over mid-day.
I plan my more substantial or cooking-intensive dishes for lunch. Once prepared, I take it either inside or out with a book to read or an interview or music to listen to. The meal finishes with dessert or tea and further reading or listening. The whole event takes at least an hour or sometimes two before I return to work or head out for errands.
Now I realize it all sounds very romantic…and unpractical. And I too have pulled a summertime nine-to-fiver where packed lunches and punctuality were the keys to success. However, why not structure your days off around a lofty lunch? Or, at the very least, take your lunch outside the office and please, please use your fully allotted time. Even if you eat your entire meal in fifteen minutes, spend the remainder sitting, listening or reading. Fuel yourself with both food and time, indulgently and without guilt.
Mindful eating sounds so hippy-ish, meagre and, well, boring. My French farm lunches are not exclusive to mindful eating. I promise you when I’m in conversation, reading or listening, my attention is not focused entirely on my food. However, the time taken and the slow pace provide the same refreshment and awareness as mindful eating without the lingo or fear such meditative practices unleash.