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The Cook Book of All Time

Our cook book is officially out for pre order. What a thing! It’s beautiful, it’s practical, I think it’s even funny. But most of all it’s true. It’s honest. It’s us. So much of what we do comes and goes in a blur of speed and force and the mostly intangible. We received one single physical copy of the book, and to have it in hand, to turn the pages and see our words and Christoper’s images in print on a page is quite a special feeling. It’s like holding time, a capsule of some kind, and it makes me nostalgic for something slower; the past perhaps, or my romantic idea of the past.

We’re recently returned from some epic travel, and all of the wonderful trip clichés aside, the thing that’s lingering with me most is how differently time behaved, how truly disconnected we were from everywhere else but here. Meaning there, where we were. We ventured over 60 km on horseback, and in eight days never once saw evidence of another person—not a hiker, or a rider, or a camper, or a campfire, or an electric light or telephone pole; we heard no other sound than the ones we or the horses or the dogs or the weather or the water made. It was just us, our guides, the horses, the dogs, the stars. I’ve never been that unreachable in my entire life.
I miss it. I miss the people we cooked with, got bogged chest deep in the mud with, descended down 35 degree sheer mountain faces with, on jagged rocks and no path on flight animals that weigh 1500 pounds with ankles the same circumference as ours. I miss the frozen rain that felt like needles in our faces and the caramelo candies I can’t find anywhere. I missed it all before we left that place, I missed it the second we arrived. I’m still searching for a word, in any language, that describes the immensity of the feeling of meeting people who you immediately know were never strangers, who you are with so briefly that the ache in your heart and throat and chest that arises when saying goodbye is so disproportionate to the amount of time shared that it makes no sense, it feels insurmountable, immeasurable, and profound—like separating from a part of your self, like peeling skin from muscle with your fingers to eat asado in the woods with no plate and no fork and no knife.

It’s rich and it’s wild and I’ve felt that feeling before, so bare and open and vital. Sometimes I get shred of that feeling from reading a part of a book or a scene in a movie or nature, but we were in it, part of it. Some people do dangerous things to feel it. I get that. But I didn’t feel in danger, I felt protected, cared for; I trusted the horse and the place and the people. I suspended control because you can’t control the temperature outside or animals or the tides of a lake. When we rode to the edge of the highest peak, just under the shelf of a glacier, the air and the sunlight and razor sharp cold passed through me like I was made of vapor and the condors were perfectly still in the sky despite the wind splashing around invisibly and none of us were being ambitious or needing to be seen or understood by anyone else. The dogs chomped the snow and dug at it and laughed how dogs laugh, by using their bodies. We passed the binoculars around and found Cerro Torre and Torre del Paine and Fitzroy and a hundred other nameless peaks equally menacing but smiling at the same time. Nothing needed to be understood. I was God and I was nobody. So were we all.

Every time it finds me, I want to claim this feeling, to hold it and keep it permanently. An urge to never return to the pulse and clutter of life in a city where you can’t hardly see the stars seems original and bold. I would alter the meaning of work, which could be simply to collect the wood to make a hot fire for a single meal, to check on the horses and to bathe in the ice cold river then go to sleep on the ground.

Upon our return, the toilets stopped working, strangers were strangers again, some coyotes jumped Hudson (he’s ok!), our insurance went up, a door fell off the hinges, more plumbing backed up, the rain kept coming and life didn’t give one buffalo chip about our feelings or our trip. I’ll tell you what, I still missed this place, these people, our people, you. And whether it is a canceled flight or thirst on a mountain, I cannot find the seam that separates the disease of being human from the unimaginable beauty of it.

This book is a mere sliver of the blood (knuckles grated), sweat (cooking over fire is hot, so is arguing), and tears (too many fallen for specific attribution, but see previous) that is not only All Time but our life together. It’s tangible proof of the adventure, the failures, the hard truths, the simple snacks, the friendships, the complicated puddings, the non sequitur cheesecake; it’s proof of life lived and living. I’m proud of it all, of my husband, of our restaurant, and of our team for all that we’ve made, all that we do. This book caught time in its pages, and that alone thrills me. I hope you’ll read it and love it and feel some of what went into it, feel what it feels like to be alive right now.

Pre order the cook book