My tenant often brings up the topic of his disappointment in the ability of people in general to maintain friendships. I wonder if it is a symptom of too much connectivity. Either a) we expect to be in contact all the time, or b) we are so inundated with ‘friends’ that we take people for granted. I mean, come on, of course no one really has 500 friends they see on a regular basis as their Facebook page might suggest? What does this social media thing do for us anyway?
I know the feeling he has. Perhaps it is just the he and I haven’t grown up in the Facebook generation. We actually expect our friends to use the phone or put forth some mutual contact effort. Is that just too old fashioned? Perhaps people’s inability to maintain friendships is the symptom of a degenerating social fabric. Because it’s not just us, I hear this from a lot of people.
So, I’m going to try a little social experiment. Big surprise, right? I’m going to check out for a while and see if anyone notices… No posting on Facebook, no being “available” in chat, no sending out of the blog posts for a while to some of my email list. I’m curious to see what happens…
What ever will I do with myself, you might ask…well, I’ve picked a few people I will stay in contact with. I will study, I will read, I will listen to the radio, I will spend time with my son, I will cook for my flesh and blood friends. Ok, so I do that already. What I really want to know is if it changes anything. Will I be happier? Will people behave differently if they know I have opted out of contact with them? My tenant has already checked out of virtual reality to a large degree, but he doesn’t seem any happier with the way many of his friends maintain their friendships than I am. Does social media matter? Do you care if I send you this blog or not? Does a chat replace a good quiet movie together? What am I missing by not seeing you all face-to-face over dinner…the raise of an eyebrow, a smile, a look of disappointment? For those of you who choose to maintain contact, I am going to be more insistent that we meet up in person whenever possible or talk on the phone or on video.
You might be thinking, “Right, K….if you are going to check out why are you telling us?” Well, I hope that you will think about this for your life too. What really makes you happy?…I had this talk with JJ before we broke things off – to stop thinking about what he wants and start thinking about what he likes. But I feel that maybe I haven’t totally answered that question for myself. There is a part of me that understands that we don’t know some of the wonderful things we are missing until they are presented to us and there is another part that understands the value of curiosity, of action, of intent – of having to go seek something out. Plus, I have to say something about it, because I don’t want my mom to worry…
The other question is this: What do I really have to offer you/anyone,/the world, that someone else can’t give?
Let’s face it, those of you who want to find out what little tid-bits I’m contemplating and cooking up will read the blog. Those of you who are so involved in your own stuff that you can’t take the time probably won’t care too much. I wonder, will you be surprised when I check back in? How soon will it take for you to forget about me? Will anyone have the initiative to make a connection when they think about me? Will you be surprised at what has happened in my life or my kitchen while I was out and wish you had been invited, wish you had gotten that recipe for the dinner party last week, wish you had the courage to find out for yourself who love you, baby?
The best part is…I’m not telling you how long I will be gone and I’m not telling who or how many people I’m cutting out. Maybe all but a very select few, maybe just you…
Last night I had a real dinner, with real people at my real table and we ate real food. Damn, you missed something already, it was AWESOME! …this is what we had:
Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms Risotto (from goodlifeeats.com)
- 24 ounces mushrooms (I used cremini and chantrells which are in season right now)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 cup arborio rice (I used the TJ rice mix)
- 2 shallots, diced
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated romano cheese
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove stems from mushrooms (discard) and thinly slice the mushrooms. Combine with garlic and rosemary. Toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Place on a foil lined baking sheet, spreading the mixture out, and roast for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the broth and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warmed. Heat the remaining oil (1/2 tablespoon) in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the shallot, about 1 minute. Add the rice, stirring to coat with oil, and cook about 2 minutes. When the rice begins to take on a light golden color, pour in the wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed.
Add half of broth and water mixture to the rice a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in the roasted mushrooms and any accumulated juices. Add the remaining broth mixture to the rice a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 10 minutes more.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter and romano. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.