A book is easy… try to write a great line. That is rare. Anyone can write a book, but how many have written one great line that the world repeats over and over again? – Father Panin

These are the words of advice given to a writer by an old Russian priest, and I believe that they still ring true today.  So often are we inundated with novels, short stories, films, plays or comedians who at the time are enjoyable enough, but once we have closed the book or left the theatre you couldn’t repeat a single memorable line that stuck with you.  Although there can be many poignant moments scattered throughout, rarely is there something remarkable enough that it sticks with you forever, save for the ‘catchphrases’ of characters that have them “sparkling” forever in your mind.  Not often are these characters worth taking note of, even if the rest of the world is.  I do think though that this article’s priest will stay with me far longer than the sitcoms I watched Saturday night.

img src - boston.broadwayworld.com: This is what I imagine the priest and his wife look like in the story. Sort of like Tevye and Golde.

This priest has advice brimming from his every fibre, as each comment made in the article is something worth taking note of.  He says that without a sense of adventure there is no point to writing, and that one may as well devote your life to a mundane job such as herding cowboys.  I think my favourite line of his is that “a small diet [is the gift] we deny ourselves”.  The man knows how to eat, especially if the caraway soup his  wife makes is as delicious as it sounds.

One Father Panin has convinced our writer to take a trip to Rome and have some adventure, we learn that there is a plan in making all along.  A small boy given to our writer and the letter that accompanies him lets us know that the true task for going to Rome is to have our writer take the boy to his mother at the bidding of Father Panin.  Our writer’s imagination runs wild and the adventure that awaits him is far too sweet to ruin in this blog post.

But the one thing that struck me the most is that when our writer slowed down and took care to be aware of his surroundings, some of the best scenarios came to fruition.  I don’t call myself a story-writer at all – I’m bred to more of a researcher’s tone – but even I could concoct a bad murder mystery out of the felons he imagined on the train to Rome.  Taking life slowly, and not for granted I believe is the important thing to remember.  Simpler things can be magnified so be sure to take care in what you choose to remember, and what you choose to forget.

To grow is easy, except inwardly.

Today, I will take the time to notice the things around me.  And to add this caraway soup to my “Things to make soon” list.  It sounds delicious!

 A Recipe for Caraway Soup

Make a roux with two tablespoons of duck fat and 1/2 a cup of flour. Stir constantly until golden brown, at which point add 6 cups of water, a pinch of salt and the juice of one lemon. Add one ounce of caraway seeds and some finely chopped parsley. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the temperature and keep at a simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with rye or cornbread croutons, and stewed hungarian fruit, if in season.

“On This Day In Gourmet” is a monthly column that explores the archives of the original magazine for good food and good living.  Each month we will highlight a different article from Gourmet to see and hear the timeless advice of yesteryear.

This month’s article from Gourmet‘s online archives. Stephen Longstreet “The Times of My Life” August 1946

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