A Little Goes a Long Way

Weekend Meditation

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Few months ago I purchased a small tub of white truffle butter from a French man who was offering samples from his booth at the Marin Farmer's Market. At $10 for 3 ounces it was expensive, at least for my budget. But the French man was very charming and the sample was quite good so I took it home, threw it in the freezer and over the course of the last several weeks, dipped in here and there to add just a hint of that wild, delightful, truffle magic to all sorts of dishes.

A little goes a long way and that, my friends, is your good news for today.

My small tub of butter is not even half way empty and already it's been put to numerous uses. I've rubbed a little beneath the skin of bone-in chicken breasts before roasting, tossed a spoonful with pasta and parmesan cheese, basted it on a sunny side up egg served over a piece of crusty toast which soaked up all the truffle-y juices.

No way I can afford to buy a whole truffle and partake in the ritual of shaving it over a plate of fresh pasta. And as intriguing as that sounds to me, the truth is, my truffle butter experience is enough. It's plenty. Knowing that, knowing how much is enough, is the kind of wisdom I'm interested in these days, whether it's a dab of butter or the square footage of my home or the size of my bank account.

In the scheme of things, truffle butter is a pretty odd example for austerity but I chose it because it shows that luxury is not so much a what but more of a how: how something is used and also how it is perceived and appreciated.

My point is, doing with less isn't always so bad. In fact, the a-little-goes-a-long-way lifestyle is actually quite liberating. Finding a deep satisfaction in what's right there in front of you, appreciating the moment-by-moment gifts of the day (slant of the late-summer sun, a good cup of coffee, a pile of persimmons at the farmer's market) can go a long way toward alleviating gnawing desire, anxiety and sense of lack. Some times the simplest things, when fully acknowledged, are the most satisfying: they are our true treasure and they are bountiful.

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I hope you enjoyed this encore Weekend Meditation, originally posted in October, 2008. I will be posting these vintage posts every Sunday (with the occasional new post, if I can manage!) for the next several months while I focus on writing my first book.

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Weekend Meditation

Dana Velden is a freelance food writer. She lives, eats, plays, and gets lost in Oakland, California where she is in the throes of raising her first tomato plant.

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