To “Savour” (for the fancy times).
To discern and taste and notice and appreciate the different tones and tastes and textures.
It’s often applied to food, sweet and savory; baking sweet temptations and desserts versus savory dishes for meals or, as my sister-n-law would call them “amuse-bouche,” (because she is chic and Parisienne and actually does cook like this). As savory it’s an actual herb of course, and thus it’s about cooking, not so much baking dessert.
I had a brief exchange with a friend on this yesterday. On the savor, how, why. And it got me thinking. How she does it, instinctively, and I look to her to remind me.
I am a cook. I am an occasional baker, but really I’m a better cook. I’m better at the “wing-it” mode of cooking rather than the precise measuring and weighing and timing of baking. I like to throw ingredients into a dish to see if they work, or kind of eyeball the amount and hope for the best. Sounds kind of haphazard…and it can be. But often it turns out pretty well, because I’ve done it for a long time and know what spices and tastes work together, meld, accentuate, and so on.
But I think it’s not purely coincidence that I am a better, more interested, cook than baker. I think there is a connection to my preferred mode of cooking and my skill there, and my big ol’ family. As with so many other things in our lives, they are connected. Maybe it’s only taken me well over twenty years of raising a family to figure it out…or at least to make this connection.
But, I’m digressing. I was talking about how to savor. Yes, in cooking. But more, much much more so, in life…we need to savor. As a mom, I need to savor. And “savor” is the right word because being a mom is not only about the sweet. Sure, ya get the desserts: the nose rubs and sunny naps and angelic late night tuck ins. Those mash notes that make you blink and swallow from the sweetness. They are, perhaps literally, the icing on the cake, the sweet plump chocolate covered berries in our days.
But the savor is where you find the richness. Those melded flavors and notes, the textures in a day…they are what make the “dish,” your family and the days take shape. If we savor our days then I think we appreciate them more. Of course we do. It’s in the very common usage of the term. To savor it to notice, to look, mark, feel, recognize, appreciate the layers.
I don’t savor enough.
On the good days, I do. Oh, how I do. I can some days savor so that it makes me buzz with the neon backlit sharpness of this rich crazy hectic life. I can try -and fail – to blink back the tears and swallow the catch in my throat as I open the holy card and note sent me from my college son. I can catch a glimpse of my daughter and see her momentary portrait in the autumn sun, and know that I have to etch it, quick before the dappling shadows shift.
On the tough days though, I don’t. I forget. Or I get overrun a bit. Or I let me loud bossy sweet tooth start calling the shots again – craving only the icing and the sweet melting sugar of dessert on my tongue. I don’t want to see the savory in the tough bedtimes, or the complicated homework sessions or the explanation of just why she is grounded. I forget to hear the notes of rich in the loud clamor as I call many kids from all corners to dinner. I forget to see the golden texture in the clothes flung on the floor and the rumpled beds with quilts pulled half off.
It all goes with living in the moment. My least able skill. I stink at this. I dwell on the past, I fret over the future; from far in the future to tomorrow. I do so the the detriment of living in the now, the today, the moment. We are called to do this in our Faith. The saints are those who did it well. But if we do it, or keep trying, perhaps we will see past the harsh notes that stem from our misguided selfish wants. Perhaps if we, ok I, really try to live in the moment for what and where and how it is, then we, ok I, can really stop and savor it. And see, AGAIN, that I have been presented with a rich buffet of taste and texture in this big ol’ busy family. Sweetness, oh my yes. And Savory, oh my yes. And they compliment each other so well of course.
The cook in me knows this. And also knows that the best cooks are always taste testing and tending. Just like a mom….or a dad. Just like a parent. Funny, that.
“Savour.” “Savor.” Either way you spell it, fancy or simple, I really like that word.