Boulevard1The joy of having a house guest, no matter how tiny my quarters are at the moment, is uplifting for the soul. When this house guest happens to be my beloved daughter who took a 17-hour bus ride all the way from Florence just to be with me, the gift of time becomes all the more precious.

The mothers whose children have also gone off to university will understand what I mean when suddenly a long, drawn out breakfast of nougat cereal and scrambled eggs beats the most expensive steak meal in a fancy restaurant. Sitting at the table with her, both of us still in pajamas was the greatest treat ever.

I am blessed with a wonderful friendship with my daughter, so it’s not just my little sparrow visiting but friend and confidante as well. Food has always been a unifying factor over the years, and meals were never something we could rush through because she was always such a slow eater as a child. So hunting out cosy cafes around town together is a natural thing. Never mind the weather outside, if an ice cream parfait or cappuccino catches our fancy, or a herbal tea with cookies, then we will drop all other shopping intentions and imbibe the flavors of the moment.

Never order a parfait if you are pressed for time, in a hurry to make it to another appointment, and love your companion with all your heart and want to prolong the moment. It takes patience to dig through the layers, awareness to acknowledge the various flavors involved, and the lightness of humor to laugh at the self-indulgence. There are absolutely no health benefits involved in this tower of creamy goodness, even if it contains copious amounts of fresh berries, the ice cream and cream cancels any vitamin effort out.

Parfaits are a disaster for diets, but some things in life are more important than calories. The zen of parfaits leads you down a path of serenity and joy. Embrace it.

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