Memorable Meals: Episode 5, Connecting with Thy Inner Self

Mountains, hills, nature and sunshine are all in my blood.  I never realized it when I was living in the big city, but when I moved to Europe I reconnected with my roots.  The ones in Spain, the ones in Colombia and maybe even the ones in France.  
I grew up with the view of the New York Skyline and rarely did we venture into the country.  I remember when my uncle once took me and my cousins on a trip to upstate New York and I actually got to see cows from close up for the very first time.  Believe it or not, I was fourteen. Until I arrived in the Netherlands (the land of green fields and grazing cows),the only animals I'd seen were dogs, cats and squirrels.
I slowly started to connect with nature by taking long walks in the forest with our dog Meiki.  Nothing could beat that feeling of sunshine and wind through my hair.  The quietness and the smell of the earth gave me so much energy that I actually started to crave nature. Visiting the French countryside reinforced that feeling even more.  Especially the hills and mountains.  A part of me that had been very hidden, suddenly emerged and I became a country girl.
For some reason, eating outdoors also has the same effect on me.  I feel instantly liberated and more in touch with who I really am.  It could be a wonderful meal with excellent wine enjoyed on our picnic table in the garden or it could be an impromptu lunch eaten on a little bench by the side of the road; a meal like the one we enjoyed yesterday.
After our long drive through the rolling hillside in the south, we stopped at a shop to buy some bread, a little sliced ham and cheese, a big salad and a bottle of fruit juice.  Then it was just a matter of driving a bit further until we found the perfect spot, overlooking the hills and next to a very proverbial long and winding road.
I used the red army knife I always use to cut the bread and made the sandwiches on my lap. And because charm knows no materials, we shared the salad, straight out of its plastic bowl and with two plastic white forks.  This was a meal that no fancy six-course restaurant affair could ever compare to.  Its beautiful simplicity signfied a connection with my inner self.  It was a symbol of our zest and love for life and it was relished with utter gusto!

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