Jill Allison Bryan : Spoiled Food Leads to Fresh Start
Spoiled Food Leads to Fresh Start
By Jill Allison Bryan
While relaxing for week at the beach with my girlfriend, Jane and our two young daughters, we enjoyed plenty of leisurely time for talk. The topics of our easy, and on-going conversation touched on a myriad of topics entrepreneurship, motherhood, spiritual matters, and, inevitably, food. I expressed the desire to take my love of cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables to the next level by buying local, using mostly what's in season, choosing fresh herbs, baking my own breakfast bars, and mixing up my own salad dressings.
I'll admit that I'm good about finding yummy ways to put lots of fruits and vegetables on the table most days. But when it comes to baking my own crunchy granola or whipping up a Dijon vinaigrette, I tend to take the easy way out and buy it pre-made. And though I do my best to choose products with real ingredients rather than chemicals I can't pronounce and always recycle the containers afterwards, I know that making my own from scratch would be tastier, healthier and have much less of an impact on the earth as far as my carbon footprint goes. But, as with my desire to organize the first four elementary school years' worth of photos into proper albums for my daughter, my best intention to someday live more like Alice Waters than Betty Crocker remains little more than a day-dreamy notion.
Perhaps I was inspired by our beach location, but during the trip, I felt the tide begin to turn. Rather than go out to eat, we stayed in and created delicious meals for ourselves. No cookbooks, no recipes just lots of beautiful veggies, some just-picked herbs from Jane's garden and our imaginations. Of course, everything tastes better when you're looking out over the dunes at the ocean waves crashing onto the sand, in my humble opinion.
We were congratulating ourselves on yet another scrumptious concoction and sipping a glass of pinot grigio when my husband called to say that some wicked storms had whipped through Dallas and he'd been without power for hours. I sympathized and then easily slipped back into my "island time" frame of mind when we hung up.
When I returned home the following evening, I found that the power had been out long enough that the total contents of our fully stocked freezer and refrigerator had gone bad, or at the very least, risked being toxic, which wasn't a chance I was going to take. My first reaction was a rather inventive and salty string words mumbled just under my breath. The seemingly monumental task of throwing away every single thing overwhelmed and disheartened me. What a waste! What a pain in the butt! So, I did what I should always do when I feel overwhelmed and uptight, I went for a run. And while out in nature, moving my body, enjoying the breeze and thinking about my recent time at the beach, I realized that this was the ideal opportunity to reframe. "You're a creative lifestyle coach practice what you preach!" I told myself.
Reframing is such an easy to use, yet powerful, tool. It's basically looking at something in a different way to put a positive spin on an otherwise negative situation. Every time I remember to use it the outcome is amazing. With reframing, a fridge full of rotten food became my opportunity for a fresh start! In fact, the timing was really quite serendipitous. As I poured out various bottled salad dressings, emptied dozens of out-of-date, twice-used condiments and pitched a jar holding one lone olive from a New Year's Eve party several years ago, I felt lighter. As I tossed boxes of frozen black bean patties, I thought of a friend I could ask to share her recipe. As I scrubbed the mystery gunk out of corners and bins, I saw my newly cleaned fridge as a blank canvas ready to be beautifully painted with wholesome foods.
More than a week has passed since my first trip to Whole Foods to restock. I've also visited two local farmer's markets. The foods on my kitchen counter and in the sparkling white interior of my fridge are gorgeous and delicious. I've tried several new recipes with excellent results (After homemade Pad Kapow with fresh green beans and basil I may never order Thai take out again!)
The white space inside the freezer and fridge allow me to really see what ingredients I have on hand and feels airy and healthy and good each time I look in. Have I stumbled upon a new concept here? Fridge feng shui!
What first felt like a calamity, reframing turned into an opportunity. And aren't the opportunities to live a more creative and fulfilling life always there if we're open to seeing them? Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll whip up a little frittata with farm fresh eggs, just-picked tomatoes and a pinch of basil! •
© 2009 Jill Allison Bryan. All rights reserved.
Jill Allison Bryan helps people to experience the joy and fulfillment that creativity can bring to their lives with Creative Oasis Coaching. More »