Betwixt And Between

Well, my imaginary friend, I am betwixt and between. Here, but not here, there in spirit but not there; my heart both full of the letting go and the setting forth. This month of Oak, as it was known by the ancient Celts, was believed to be a portal month, the bridge between the dark half and the light half of the year. And so the feelings would seem to fit naturally into the half-forgotten, but still-echoing-rhythm of seasons as they unfolded for my ancestors.


I am preparing for a journey, and there are practical and prosaic things to be done in this preparation. But as always, the inner journey is the most interesting to me, and this fine focus of concentration seems terribly important, for I go in quest of a new life, a very different life. Naturally, I suppose, I hope it shall be a better life, but this very idea seems confusing and convoluted – better than what? My life to this point has been precisely what I made it, what I chose and brought into fruition. Whether I am blessed or cursed, I cannot tell, but I cannot stay in any place for too long – although let me clear, by ‘place’ I mean more like ‘state of being’.

So whether blessed or cursed shall be set aside for the moment; in any event, I appear to be different than many of my fellow humans, who seem to like to stay in the same place and work at the same things and see the same people and who, in a million ways, large and small, comfort themselves with routines and rituals and pleasures of sameness. Their longings for new scenery or cultures or cuisines can be contained by yearly travel to some exotic location, it seems. I am aware, most assuredly, that my fellow humans do change, though I find these changes in mind and in being are rarely talked about so much as the latest restaurant, or last vacation, or newest acquisition…My sense of bewilderment, of finding myself distinctly not in the right pond, is catalyst enough.

I am keenly aware, my imaginary friend, that I leave you with – well, questions. What is this all about? What exactly does she want? Part of what I would like to do is to set the stage, so to speak, for writing about my journey over the course of the next months and years. Another part of what I would hope to convey is that the questions are the beginning of the journey – the imaginary starting point, if you will. Maybe most importantly, that the quest for the ‘new’, the ‘different’, the ‘better’ ought be a lifelong quest, for is it this that defines the best human qualities, I think.

Blessed, or cursed?

The Menu

A menu in a cafe or restaurant both facilitates and constrains our choices. Constrains, because there are a finite number of items – though as chefs are keenly aware, a good menu will make choosing one item rather difficult. Even given a wide array of dishes, chefs also understand that choices are often made on the basis of what seems familiar; or at the very least, what is within the cultural norms of cuisine in a given place. Developing and writing a menu is an interesting and complex exercise, and I wonder, my imaginary friend, how many people think of how their dining choices are formed by chefs and cooks? We are more accustomed to believing it is ourselves that choose, even in spite of the limitations of choice by what is on the menu.

I have spent much of my time these past few weeks pondering the mystery of why people should be content to live life as if it were limited, rather than a vast smorgasbord, and the menu analogy immediately comes to mind. One may accept a rudely-slapped-together peanut butter sandwich (on white bread!) given circumstances or necessity, but does one then accept that is dinner, now and forevermore? The more interesting question is how such came to be on the menu…This by way of introducing you to the menu I am writing – it’s a work in progress.


Life Cafe Menu

Fresh and crispy greens with a froth of courtesy and attention, garnished with spiced tidbits.

Soup to nourish: a gentle wake up to the taste, or a larger serving of comfort. Served with rustic bread baked in house, and a genuine smile.

Appetizer platter with particular attention to a variety of tastes, textures and styles, and a plenitude of sauces, dips, and salsas to surprise and delight.

Handmade pasta with a sensuous sauce, shavings of affection and regard, and a frisson of piquant.

Lively picatta, pan fried with the richness of experience, seasoned simply and presented with love.

Roast of life essence, all the trimmings, in measure to satisfy, and a feast of joy.

Luscious curd in a flaky shell for contrast, decorated with sparkle and wit.

Delicious pie of friendship: homey, satisfying, essential, and deeply moving. A la mode?

Nuances of meringue with delicacy and sensitivity, and candied moments of the new and exotic.



Oh! Well, I confess this is fun, and I did warn you it is a work in progress. I would be delighted to choose any of the items on this menu, which is hardly surprising as I wrote it for myself. Really, when I see Roast of Bore on a menu I run for the exit…And now my imaginary friend asks, what exactly is the point? Just this, I suppose, that we ought all write our own menus (borrowing from the professionals as seems fitting), and change them often, and opt for the buffet at times…because life, and love, and adventure are all out there beyond the Roast Bore Diner.


Art of Naomi TeWinkel

Art of Naomi TeWinkel

Find more of this delightful art work to inspire your menu  here.