Once upon a time – before goat farms, pop-up cocktail parties, and quarter-life crises – I lived alone in a sparsely furnished studio where I read voraciously and quite widely.
It was an education as formative as any other that might have more explicitly called itself the same and laid the groundwork for the life I am creating today.
During this time, I read a quiet, unsung, potentially quite boring work of popular sociological scholarship, The Comfort of Things, which explores the objects the residents of a single London street possess and the ways those “things” both reflect and affect their lives and relationships.
I heard once and very much believe that every book we read changes us, regardless of whether we’re able to articulate the specific change. Occasionally, therefore, me being me, I try to practice intentionality about this and list a change wrought from each book recently read.
It was in the midst of one of these listing periods that The Comfort of Things first came in to my life and a subsequent assessment of my possessions, desires, and potential for transformation was inevitable. Soon thereafter, I found myself online ordering a dining room table to fill my barren square footage.
In my book-laden life, I had identified a craving for something more human and broadly nourishing: the ritual of a meal, the challenge of a new recipe, the comfort of a sauce mousseline sabayon swaddling a beautifully poached fish with hints of tarragon, and a community with which to share it all.
I now no longer own a table (or much of anything, really, which is quite intentional in case anyone feels concern).
And yet, I find myself today in undisputed possession of all those things I first thought to bring a table in to my life to cultivate.
This past Saturday, five years from its institution, the Julia Child Supper Club reconvened to celebrate our community’s beloved tradition of sharing complicated, comforting meals.
So much had changed for each of us since we first embarked on our culinary journey together, and yet the resounding resonance of our ritual reverberated from there to here and now to then and back and forth across generations and continents, courses and cuisines. There were tears and hand holding.
In that present I grasped the reality that I was now already in possession of everything I needed to create my future, whatever it might be.
It was no longer necessary for me to own a table, as I was finally able to see that the entire world was in fact a glorious table laden with delectable transformative delights and plenty of room for all the friends I haven’t met yet.