Tuesday, September 25, 2012

SUITCASE DIARIES - Food - it's just not the same "sniff"

I'm going to be a sucky baby and whine in this entry. I'll tell you why...

Can you say ambiance?
It all started 16 days ago on a lovely, late summer's, evening, Sun Sept 9th when I stepped into the MOSSWOOD HOLLOW RETREAT CENTRE dining room in Duvall, Washington. Most of the Dream Teacher Training I students had already arrived. We began introducing ourselves and chatting casually as we stood before a massive, elegantly set dining table which was as long as the room was wide. The multiple candles shone and glowed off the windows surrounding the space accentuating a warm welcome.

Soon after we were invited to take a place...and we were served the most delicious, delicately flavoured, perfectly plated fare imaginable. And, I mean SERVED.

I've been to many retreat centres. The food, which varies in quality, tends to be wholesome and tasty but at all of the centres self-serve is the order of the day so the plating is whatever I can make of it. Settings are non-existent as it's grab a knife, fork and spoon, give your thanks and have at it. Having worked in kitchens from: dishwasher, to food prep to bussing tables and waitressing, this is no biggie for me. In fact it was difficult at first to allow others to serve me.

I tried to describe how I felt about being served and dining at a beautifully set table to a fellow Shiatsu therapist/friend (who was once a chef herself).

She said, "You felt like you were being honoured. That the work you do is important, supported and valued." That's it exactly! (Just now, I realize that I dreamed this very phrase - deja vu - seriously :) )

In return I truly honoured the food that was presented to me with a silent thanks and an audible, "Oh, this looks (smells, tastes) amazing," or something to that effect, and took my time to savour each bite. We all did. Dining was leisurely and the room filled with stories of our lives and our dreams shared over a glass or two of wine (Picked up on a run into town by some of the group; purchased with contributions of a few bucks donated to the cause.)

Brekkie was the more casual buffet-style which suited me, a night hawk who rouses slowly and delicately, just fine. The serving table was filled with fresh breads, fruit, yogurt and special offers of the day even gluten free pancakes, soy milk for granola and other dietary options were there for the taking. Many of us were asked if we'd like a cheese-free egg dish to be specially prepared; Sandie could whip it up if we so desired. But pancakes, french toast and other items won over my taste buds.

Even the Stellar Jays eat well at
Mosswood Hollow
Every lunch and every dinner 23 dreamers were served; 16 meals in all and each one a treat for the senses. Lunch and dinner came with delicate salads of fresh mixed greens tossed in the lightest of dressings; sometimes topped off with orange, red or yellow edible flowers.

Dessert portions (also served both at lunch AND dinner) were modest, just right to cleanse the palate and leave a gentle sweet taste in my mouth. Ice cream was a popular offering. To my surprise I found Sandie's milk substitute "ice cream" better than the dairy version! Cookies (delicious chocolate chip, warm mmm. Shhh I took 2. Slipped one into a napkin and took it up to my room in "Griffandor" for a late night snack - yum.) a wheat free chocolate cake to die for (Sandie's grandmother's recipe) and the most amazing version of baklava I've ever tasted (I took mini bites to make it last longer!)

Salmon, whitefish, burgers and red meat, Moroccan chicken, asparagus, green beans, tiny perfect potatoes...ah...

SANDIE I miss you!!! It's just not the same.

And thanks so much to Paul, Hilary, Shepherd, "Sam", Dave and anyone I may have missed for all that you did to make me/us feel so welcomed and at home.

I can't wait til next year!

CLICK HERE ON MOSSWOOD HOLLOW RETREAT CENTRE and feast your eyes! Read the whole thing and I dare you not to salivate when you check out MEALS. Oh ya, on OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS see the top middle picture and the bed in the left corner - that's where I slept in what my room mates and I lovingly called "Griffandor".

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