Friday night I experienced a small piece of France in Spotsylvania, Virginia. For those of you who don’t know a lot about Virginia, Spotsyvania, like many counties in Virginia, is a county in the middle of nowhere. Invited to a dinner soiree at my friend Patti’s farm, it was a beautiful, intellectual, and freeing evening that started at 8:00 PM and ended at 1:30 AM. Beginning with Prosecco and a cheese platter on the stone terrace that overlooked farm fields, a dinner of smoked salmon and snap peas sauteed in white wine and ending with a dessert platter of petits lus au chocolat, peaches and kahlua, I felt like I was reliving a dinner party in France.
It was at dinner soirees in France where I first learned that food wasn’t the enemy. Over tables of food and wine, I learned, hour after hour, to see food as celebration and as way to connect in true community with others These dinners saved me from my eating disorder; when I first moved to France I was at a point in my life where calorie counting dominated my thoughts and food was not to be trusted, so, you can imagine that the idea of celebrating food and prolonging the dining experience itself was a terrifyingly foreign concept for me.
Now, looking back, I realize that I had truths around me my whole life about food that I just didn’t tap into. This concept applies to us all in everything we do; there is always another way to see or experience something that will change the way we think. One of my favorite moments of the evening was when we got to explore the farmhouse’s endless walls of bookshelves. No ordinary bookshelves, these were hand-built by Patti’s husband Terry into the wall, so that they became the wall itself. And these shelves didn’t simply extend into one room, they went on room after room after room. Having wall-t0-wall bookshelves is a dream of mine one day so I was particularly fascinated. When asked if he had read every book he owned, Terry replied with a brief “of course not,” and then with a slight smirk of excitment, added, “we have simply have an ocean of knowledge around us that we can dive into whenever we want.”
The reality is that we are surrounded by hidden treasures all around us, oceans of knowledge that we can dive into whenever we want. You might find yours in a dinner party, or perhaps in a book at the beach, but whatever you do, seek to grow and to dive into the endless possibilities that you have all around you.