Bacon. That I, a once, decade-long vegetarian would start anything with bacon as a statement is hilarious. Louis CK Hilarious. But the truth is that after all the Thanksgiving ideas from all the food blogs I follow and the food magazines I read, (read is strong…more like flip through-I do have a 1 year old after all), I was feeling bombarded and uninspired. Then I found this recipe in my Bon Appetit magazine: Mashed Root Vegetables with Bacon Vinaigrette. I was intrigued. And along with my swiss chard slaw, this will come with me to my in-laws’ on Thursday. Yes, there was a vegetarian time when I would have criticized to no end the idea of bacon at the Thanksgiving table, but those days are over. It’s best to embrace change and to keep an open mind.
Gratitude. There’s a whole lot of talk about this this week and it’s nice to read and hear what people are grateful for. As a yogi, it’s a daily part of my practice. As a Catholic, it comes in just before guilt so it’s pretty important. (Just a little humor there!) As a cook, it’s an essential ingredient. As a MOM, every moment is drenched in it. You get the picture.
If I imagine gratitude to be served on a dish, I imagine it would be like a chutney. So simple, stewed with spices and aromas of citrus that add depth and complexity. It heightens a dish and delights the palate. Gratitude is warming like that for the soul and it’s spiciness, tanginess and sweetness have a way of opening the heart. It’s simple yet complex because we have to find ways to be more grateful and not just for the things that are working out in our lives. That’s easy and it’s a great place to start practicing gratitude.
We have to find a way to be genuinely grateful for those tougher things; those relationships that seem impossible to fix but are even more impossible to let go of, the job you’re still at even if you don’t know why, that nagging knee pain that keeps you from running your personal best, those tight hamstrings that are keeping that graceful standing split elusive-at best, the unfulfilled dreams that toy with you still. We have to find that gratitude for the challenges that push us to be better versions of ourselves, to be better listeners, true listeners. Everyday. It’s humbling.
Being grateful is a practice for a reason, because while our lives may never be perfect, we can perfect gratitude. And our planet, our communities, our individual selves will all benefit from this act.
My favorite quote on the topic comes from Rumi:
Gratitude is the wine for the soul.
Go on. Get drunk.
Sounds good to me, friends!
P.S. Thanks for reading.