Monday, July 19

Remember Modigliani

A few months ago, I sat next to the CEO of an economic consulting group on a flight from Boston to D.C. I was in the middle of our Spring break and had to fly to Boston on some work just for a day. I really enjoyed talking to the CEO, a woman in her forties with a twinkle in her eye. We talked about many things including the restaurants my family and I had tried in D.C. and her favorite chocolate restaurant - Co Co Sala, where she frequented with her teenage daughters. We also talked about her work, which was economic consulting to governments around the world, specifically on policy implementation. The flight was short, and before we parted ways I asked her what her secret to her success was. "Don't sweat the small stuff. Things might change, colleagues might grab a responsibility from you or even send unwanted ones your way. Don't make a big deal out of such events. Just go with the flow and keep moving forward."

I was reminded of her advice at the Toledo Museum of Art last week. We were in a quaint town on Lake Erie visiting a close friend, Kohlrabi, and her family. The children had a great time, swimming and boating in the lake and my husband and I had a very restful vacation. Kohlrabi understood how starved I was for art and one day whisked me away to the museum which was an hour away and dropped me off while running errands. I went to the East Wing and gorged on all the modern art on offer - large canvases splashed across with paint. Before making it back to my pickup location at the appointed time, I felt the need to pay my respects to the Impressionists, who had originally drawn me to the world of art many years ago. As I stood and stared at the Modigliani painting of Paul Guillaume, I was surprised to see that this piece of perfection encompassed many lines and blotches of imperfection. I was stunned. I am so glad Modigliani did not sweat the small stuff and carried on to finish the portrait.

"Wait! I thought this is a food blog!" ask my new readers. Well, that evening, I roasted some pork using a recipe I had seen on the foodnetwork by Anne Burrell - roasted pork with chunky apple sauce, as a gesture of thanks for my hosts. I had bought a huge hunk of pork roast, larger than usual and covered it with a pesto of herbs, chilli flakes, garlic and olive oil. Since it was their holiday home, there was no meat thermometer at hand. Worrying about cooking the pork through, I unfortunately overcooked it. As we sat down to eat it and my fork cut though the meat, my face fell. It was a disaster!!! Kohlrabi turned to me and sweetly said, "remember Modigliani. The flavors are wonderful and the sauce delectable. Yes, the meat may be 10% overcooked, but it is far better than you think. Small imperfections, yet overall a masterpiece. That is what this meal is."

Thank you, Modigliani. More importantly, thank you Kohlrabi, for your friendship and for the wonderful week in Ohio.



Anonymous said...

that made me cry. Since it is a food blog I will say it was because the memory of dinner was so good... but of course I have tears of joy for our friendship. thank you. love to you. Kohlrabi

Anonymous said...

Really heart-warming and good advice Cinnamon! Thanks so much.

As an aside, having just looked at the Modigliani, I thought the presentation of the roast pork was quite impressionistic itself - the way the pesto was dotted about the meat... A parallel between visual art and food?

Cinnamon and Truffle said...

You know, I was actually proud of that visual of the pesto with the chili and actually took it around and showed it to our guests before putting it in the oven. You know me well....


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