Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gourmet Update

OK, so here we are, 26 days into 2011. How's the new year working for you so far? This time a year ago I was all excited about the "Gourmet Initiative" Rebekah and I adopted for 2010. I thought now would be a great time for a review.

Our plan, in case you missed it the first time, went like this.
  1. I had given Rebekah three new cookbooks for Christmas.
  2. I promised to cook one new recipe per week during 2010.
  3. All she had to do was thumb through and find something special that she wanted to eat.
The idea was to challenge the boundaries of my skill set as a chef. I was a decent cook in general, but over the years my imagination waned, and I had to admit I repeated my "standards" every couple of weeks, so that everything I prepared was beginning to taste the same...

For 2010, following new recipes (to the "t"), I wanted to learn new techniques, tap fresh resources, force myself to research new ingredients, and expand my repertoire in the kitchen (see exhibit A - above right, shrimp parmigiana with my home-made marinara sauce...).

Rebekah and I had completely rebuilt our kitchen that summer, we stocked it with matching, professional cookware for Christmas, and I wanted to give Rebekah an exceptional gift - something that would last all year long.

The results are in:
The idea was an unqualified success. Too good. I enjoyed the gourmet challenge so much that Rebekah found herself on the receiving end of kitchen heroics more than one day a week. In fact, by the middle of March we both added a few too many pounds! So this time she bought me a cook-book for my birthday. The title "Cooking yourself Thin", was exactly what we needed.

Well, we tweaked the calories, added an amazing cookbook called "The Three-Hour Diet", and pretty much revolutionized our entire approach to food during the course of the year.

All told, by December 31, the promised 52 gourmet experiences stood closer to 152. Both of us lost some weight. But, most importantly, we established a shift in culture that has impacted my life across the board.

Gourmet Living:
By and large (pun intended), I believe most Americans eat too much because they are, simply put, unsatisfied. Junk food - and junk living - cannot satisfy. However, because it's all that we know, we gorge ourselves in the baseless hope that it will.

If the accumulation of wealth, for example, is your standard for "the good life", then of course you are going to pursue the goal even when it leaves you feeling empty... because the answer is always "More! Then I'll be satisfied." It's the same thing with power, with illicit relationships, with substance abuse, etc....

The principle follows when it comes to junk food. It simply doesn't satisfy, so we feel like we have to eat more and more to fill the emptiness. But it never will satisfy - that's the point! We end up overweight and disappointed.

Good quality food with great flavor is satisfying. There's no need to gorge.

Gourmet life is no different. If we pursue the truth, if we address a relationship with our Creator that guides our life, then balanced living, addressing the spiritual reality as well as the physical, will also be a rewarding life.

As for me, I'm interested to see where my commitment to gourmet living is going to take me during 2011. A well-seasoned 2011. Life is good... God is good.

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