the art of slow eating

“I think I’m turning into a PJ eater.” I look down at my unfinished plate. I look around and Megan and Billy are clearly done. Megan’s ready to clear and Billy’s ready for dessert, but they remain with me as I consume the rest of my meal.

It’s a running joke in our family how slow PJ, our uncle, eats. It’s also a running joke in our family how fast Billy, my husband, eats. It’s quite common for him to start a sentence, take a bite, chew, swallow, take another bite and never finish the sentence leaving us hanging around the table.

Over the weekend, we took a trip to Vermont to visit Debbie and PJ. Hannah (currently working at UVM) came down to meet us. On Friday, we planned a 6.5 mile hike up the back side of Mad River Glen via The Jerusalem Trail.

We donned our ‘best’ hiking gear, loaded the cooler with drinks and bars. “Let’s have PBJ’s at the top.” PJ suggested. I grabbed what bread was left, the Skippy peanut butter and what was left of the strawberry jelly and constructed 4 beautiful PBJ’s on white bread.

The ride to the trail head was loaded with twists and turns, paved and unpaved roads with breathtaking scenery.

On our hike up, we were protected from the August sun, thanks the canopy of the trees. Surrounded by ten thousand shades of green we made our way to the top where we were met with The Mad River single chair (which, during ski season, is the only way to reach the Stark summit). As we approached the top, Billy shouted, “I’m going to PJ eat my sandwich when we get to the top!” This sudden proclamation caused PJ, Hannah and I to stop in our tracks.

Upon reaching the summit, hungry, Hannah and PJ, climbed atop the still, single chairs I passed out the sandwiches. “Now Billy, one bite at time.” PJ began to direct Billy in the art of slow eating. “OK, Peej, now, do I chew it completely to it’s mushed state before I swallow?” Billy had fallen into the role of apprentice immediately. He was prepared to master this art in one lesson. “Yes, Billy.” the casual conversation became more “formal” “You should taste the bouquet of the strawberry jelly. Let the peanut butter melt in the warmth of your mouth.”

One slow bite a time, Hannah and I witnessed the master and the apprentice eat. And when it came to the last bite, they took it together.

the master observes the apprentice at work…

6 thoughts on “the art of slow eating”

  1. I loved this slice! You masterfully capture the story and deliver the idea. I sure need to practice more of PJ style eating.


  2. I like the way this slice starts at the house (introduces the eating situation), brings us up the mountain (love the “thousand shades of green” phrase) and then to the top where the eating experience occurs, bite by careful and thoughtful bite. This is a great slice to show kids how you can take something as ordinary as how to eat a PBJ and craft some beautifiul and meaningful writing!


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