Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Smoko.

Below the oft-treaded boards of this home lies a special, secret place. A haven where one man toils at his self-taught craft; that of making things out of wood and by hand – an old and revered pastime.

A craftsperson often rises early with the dawn, including on the weekend days, only breaking for a mid-morning meal and rest – affectionately known in the Antipodes as ‘smoko’.

At this home this certainly rings true. The first hours of morning light are for outdoor pursuits – a spot of gardening, a morning walk, and woodwork – until mid-morning when the springtime sun hits a patch of green in silent consent, signaling the time for rest and nourishment.

The art of preparing and sharing a meal is as old as the craft of working with wood, both commanding a sense of simplicity, slowness, careful arrangement and attention to detail. 

Enjoying a meal made for someone else, for a loved one, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. When you are preparing a meal for someone you know and love, you remember his or her favorite things and relish in watching them devour each bite.

A perfect weekend smoko is a complete meal, a mini degustation, a taste of all good things.

A fresh ruby red grapefruit, juiced by hand, alongside a steaming pot of Earl Grey tea.

A slab of wholemeal bread layered with caramelized onion chutney and sharp cheddar cheese. With a strawberry or two on the side.

A perfect hard-boiled egg and pickled gherkin followed by homemade granola with a fresh, creamy yoghurt and passionfruit topping.

At smoko, the food is at the centre, and a craftsperson is granted permission to refuel and bask in the morning light to prepare for a second stint of laboring into the afternoon hours. 

At smoko, the conversation should be as free flowing and easy as the dappled light on the walls of the house; covering plans for summer canoeing trips, future overseas adventures and rest-of-day activities like a leisurely walk, afternoon of reading and a small siesta.

A perfect springtime smoko is a small reminder. Of simple pleasures, the joy of manual labour and the rest time in between. And a taste – a promise – of shared meals to come.

*Set at the MM's Olinda home, which they move from today - *tears*

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