The Search for Pleasure in a Hunk of Raclette
Life is short. A cliché, I know, but a significant one. I’ve been a tad obsessed with the whole life/short/time thing for a while now; enough to where it comes up often, even in casual conversations. The conversation results are always generic – “it is what it is;” “life flies by in the blink of an eye,” etc. Those aren’t answers. Ah but… I do believe there is a way to ease the angst of the unavoidable fleeting time. Pleasure.
The Pleasure Principle
The search for pleasure has been my goal for one year, as of next Tuesday. I was fairly persistent. It went quite well. By this pleasure pursuit, I don’t mean it in a “grab life by the balls” kind of way, although that method is also quite effective. Instead, I chose to pursue simple, daily pleasures — more of a rabbit-and-hare approach. Obviously pleasure is different for everyone, but for me, one surefire way is food. Pleasure can come from eating a perfectly ripe tomato still warm from the sun, popcorn and Pinot in bed with someone you adore, or a leisurely three-hour gastronomic afternoon at l’Astrance in Paris.
Simple pleasures are everywhere, but, more often than not, it requires action. That said, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple pleasures are more frequent, because they’re easier to pull off. Like this one: with a little forethought and a trip to the market, sublime pleasure can be had this weekend by merely building a fire and melting some cheese.
Every man dies, but not every man lives.” William Wallace. Not a cliché, but definitely something to chew on.
Raclette is both, a type of French cheese and method of preparation. It’s so easy, there’s not even a recipe. Here’s how:
- Grab someone (gently, of course); one builds a fire, the other boils some tiny potatoes, both of you enjoy a glass of Sangiovese*.
- When that first glass settles in, skootch a little table or blanket next to the fire and set it with the potatoes, a few thin slices of smoked ham, a jar of cornichons, and some roasted onions. A baguette and green salad also make great accompaniments.
- Pour another glass of wine.
- Place a good-sized chunk of Raclette on a cast iron griddle; set it near the fire.
- When the portion of Raclette facing the fire melts, scrape the warm, gooey cheese over the potatoes, and return it to the fireplace to melt some more.
There it is — pure pleasure, easily attained. My answer to the unanswerable: eat, drink, occasionally slow down, live, love.
Wine Suggestions: Beaujolais, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc match best; but dry Riesling, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Syrah and Barbera are also quite delicious.