It has been a pretty amazing week. First, a dinner at The James Beard House. Second, an amazing write up in September's Philadelphia Magazine. Third, a stellar review from the Phantom Diner in Central PA Magazine. In between, I was able to talk to a few teachers from a local school district about healthy cooking. Healthy cooking isn't really my schtick, but I decided to do the demos because I really admire what teachers do and wanted to give something back. I live in the land of butter and bacon. Sure, fresh local produce is a huge focus, but if I can gild the lilly with some smoky pork fat, I will. So what was I to talk about. I got some amazing fruit from a local farm stand and buzzed up a smoothie. I cut up some heirloom tomatoes and made a quick tomato salad. Simple, healthy, quick. Done. As I was talking about the wonders of putting a bunch of fruit in a blender and turning it on, another thought dawned on me. It's more about taking time than being quick. This idea is so very important. Make a simple dinner...have some wine...turn off the damn TV and talk. The joy of being alive is being alive. The food is there as nourishment but the restorative aspects of the table come from conversation. Take the time to breathe, take the time to listen, take the time to savor what you are eating instead of shoveling it in and running to the next meeting. Try this exercise the next time you find yourself in a rush. If you aren't very skilled with chopsticks, get a pair out and eat your food with chopsticks. If you are skilled with the 'sticks', try eating with your weaker hand. This slows you down and makes you think about what you are eating. The bottom line is take the time to celebrate the season(it'll be gone before you know it), celebrate your company, and first and foremost celebrate yourself. ADDED NOTE: I find that doing all of the above works out even better over some great bottles of wine!