Cooking Eating Dining Sharing

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Things That Matter Most in Our Lives are Not Fantastic or Grand

Oil of Abraham's Mother's hands

This year, with weather turning us back indoors to hunker down, I feel a little like a child ( minus the 10 degrees) waiting rather impatiently, but marveling at the falling of the season's first snow, nose pressed against the window.  I couldn't wait to go out in the fresh snow to make a snowman, an igloo or walk over to our pond to skate.  Outdoors were exciting, fresh and short-lived.  We couldn't wait to strip our wet clothes, hang them to dry on the radiators and have a warm cup of cocoa, until we warmed, our things dried and we had the energy to go back out and do it all over again.  
Today's weather certainly feels like winter has arrived.  Blowing winds, rain coming down sideways, and the fireplace ready to be stoked at a moments notice.  This contemplative time of year, a self-imposed slowing down and turning inward, is an important part of life.  It is a time of renewal.  Thinking about our past, questioning ourselves, our behavior, and how can we improve upon ourselves.  How can we share our life to make other people's lives better?

In the West, there's a myth that freedom means free expression--that to follow all desires wherever they take one is true freedom. In fact, as one serves the mind, one sees that following desires, attractions, repulsions is not at all freedom, but is a kind of bondage. A mind filled with desires and grasping inevitably entails great suffering. Freedom is not to be gained through the ability to perform certain external actions. True freedom is an inward state of being. Once it is attained, no situation in the world can bind one or limit one's freedom. It is in this context that we must understand moral precepts and moral rules.
from Jack Kornfield, author and Buddhist practitioner.

My advice, a little humor goes a long way.  May you have laughter, love and good health this holiday and in the New Year!  Happy Cooking!  Tricia


1.  Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday  spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately.. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat.. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a  Holiday  party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

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