dahlia in my garden: Rio Fuego in Coleus leaves

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving - Using Life’s Ingredients To Make Our Feast

[This blog post was accepted into the ChronicBabe.com Blog Carnival: “Food, Glorious Food...Or Not-So-Glorious As The Case May Be” and you can read all the other submissions by clicking on the name]

Usually on Thanksgiving we stop to think about all the things we are grateful for. This year, I want go a different direction and focus on the ingredients which make up a great Thanksgiving and how it mirrors our lives.

Thanksgiving is filled with such delicious foods as turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and much more. But imagine trying to create a beautiful feast without having all the traditional components available - and having to do your best to cook something fantastic no matter what.

One of my favorite television shows is “Chopped” on the Food Network. On the show four chefs are given baskets full of the most unusually incompatible ingredients you can imagine and they compete for a prize of $10,000. The odd combination in a basket could be rattlesnake, peanut butter, yam, root beer, and cherimoya (a delicious fruit which tastes like an apple crossed with pear, but containing poisonous seeds) and they must use all those items to prepare the most delicious meal they can. It’s a lot of fun to see them trying to transform things like Spam and Cocoa Puffs breakfast cereal into haute cuisine!

When they present their “gourmet” concoctions to the judges, they give the dishes such epicurean descriptions as, “Thai rattlesnake with a cherimoya compote and yam mousse with a root beer glaze.” I don’t know about you, but *I* wouldn’t want to be a judge and have to taste that peculiar mix of flavors!

This is such a representation of what life is like for all of us who live with chronic pain/illness. We never know when we wake up what ingredients will be in our own basket that we’ll have to work with. Some days the combination may be easy to handle, with life, self, relationships, and work balancing easily. Other times, we may be given larger portions of difficulties and have to blend them together with unexpected things which come out of nowhere.

“Bear in mind that you should 
conduct yourself in life as at a feast.”

No matter what we’re given, distasteful or palatable, we work with what we’ve got to make our own feast. Whether we are served the life equivalent of kumquat and sardines, we can always find a way to transform it if we don’t resist but instead reach toward the outcome we desire. It may not taste absolutely the way we would want, but with ingenuity and persistence our life feast can be unique and enjoyable - and entirely our own creation. 

This year as you count your blessings, please recognize the incredible job you do as your own life chef, cooking up all the aspects of your existence into an incredible Thanksgiving of the Soul. 

Bon Appetit!

(By the way, could you please pass the Spam coq au vin, with crushed Cocoa Puff crepes, and kumquat juice granita? Thanks!)


  1. What a wonderful post! Your analogy is right on. And I have watched and enjoyed that cooking show as well but never in my mind's eye did the comparison that you have so eloquently done here. Bravo!

  2. I am demanding that Shannon makes me some Spam coq au vin, with crushed Cocoa Puff crepes, and kumquat juice granita for Thanksgiving :)


  3. Deb,

    I love that show, don't you? Always so much fun to see what's going on in that crazy kitchen. I'm glad you also enjoyed the comparison I made.


    If you'd rather have Spam than Beef Rouladen - well, I
    'll get the ingredients for you!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you both!


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