HAVING INTEGRITY

April 27, 2019

It has been years since we had a television and the only thing I miss is my cooking shows. Go figure. I especially love it when you can see someone grow, take a risk, push themselves, or step forward with integrity.  One of the shows I enjoy watching on YouTube is Master Chef. While I prefer the other countries over the US version most episodes, I have been struck by two episodes of Master Chef US where the judges gave those who had the least successful dishes the opportunity to act from a place of integrity.

I can only begin to imagine the pressure contestants on cooking shows are under. To want to stay in a competition which will give you additional training and mentoring as you begin to move into a new career is important. To then voluntarily leave, knowing it is the right thing to do, takes courage, integrity, and honesty. I appreciated in the two episodes I saw this happen how the judges gave the home chefs the opportunity to leave on their own. As you watched the contestants you could see the struggle within them. You could see the battle between wanting to stay and grow and knowing your opponent deserved to be the one to stay more than you.

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THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT

October 8, 2014

As many of you know, the show Chopped on the Food Network never ceases to be a source of inspiration for this blog. Last night was no different, albeit for different reasons. The cheftestants were not those who work as restaurant chefs, private chefs, or even culinary instructors. They were those who worked in non-profit organizations preparing food for those we so often call “the least of thee.” One cooked for the Fresh Air Fund and others cooked for various homeless shelters. It was the story of one of the cheftestants who talked about going from being homeless to being able to cook at the shelter that moved me. It reminded me of a time in my own life when I had almost become homeless. His story also moved me because of how they served their clients in the homeless shelter. Their dining facility did not have line that people went through, but was set up like a restaurant with menus and a volunteer staff that served as wait staff.

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CONSISTENCY

July 31, 2014

For those who have been following this blog for a while, you know that one of my favorite sources of inspiration is the Food Network show Chopped. This week was no exception. One of the spiritual messages that I have been receiving lately is about consistency. One of the primary reasons contestants are “chopped” is because there is inconsistency in plating and in preparation of the food. The inconsistency can be that the meats were cooked to differing degrees of doneness. Other times, the same amount of ingredients was not placed in the same way or in the same amount on the plates. Consistency is important. If you are going out to eat at a restaurant, it is important that all who order a dish, regardless of when they order it get the same dish. One of the things I have found personally challenging is when I order something and love it and then order it again a few weeks later and it is not the same dish. Inconsistency challenges one’s ability to trust they are going to have the same experience or that all who order it will experience the same dish.

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R is for Risotto

March 12, 2014

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As many of you know, most of my inspiration for this blog comes from my addiction (in a good way) to the show Chopped. This week is no exception as the episode I was listening to as I drifted to sleep (yes I fall asleep to reruns on the Food Network). What I woke up thinking about was how many times I have heard the judges discuss how hard it is to make rice on this show, never mind make the perfect risotto. I think it was Scott Conant I once heard talk about how many people have bad risottos. While it may be difficult to master, Bon Appetit magazine has identified as one of their favorite rice based dishes. They said the perfect “risotto is rich without being heavy, with al dente rice, a rainbow of seasonal vegetables, a shower of fresh herbs, all christened with a blanket of Parmesan.”[1] They did agree with the Chopped judges “it’s not always done right. In fact, it’s actually pretty easy to screw up.”[2]

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Wasted

August 14, 2013

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Maybe it is because Chopped is the last thing I watch on Tuesday night, but I generally find myself inspired by something from the show. Last night was no different. This week the theme for all the baskets was wasted; they contained products that would normally be wasted and thrown away. This included things such as parmesan rinds, wilted carrots, potatoes with eyes, meat trimmings, etc. While I was impressed by some of what the cheftestants created, it was similar to a special the Food Network had created before where the team of Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli competed against Bobby Flay and Michael Simon. The show served two purposes. It was a documentary about the food wasted in our country because it does not fit the “appearance” standards of the American consumer. It was also a challenge to them to collect these “wasted” foods from farms, markets, and even the trash outside of grocery stores with which to prepare a gourmet meal.

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A few weeks ago, I had mentioned writing about the lessons to be learned from lamb fries. Last night, my friend Heather laughed when I said I might write about them this week. So here you go Heather, my spiritual reflections on lamb fries, aka as lamb testicles, and testicles in general. Hmm, spirituality and testicles. That sounds strange just typing it, but hopefully by the time I am done this will make sense.

Testicles are also referred to as testes, which is plural for the word testis. In Latin, the word testis means “witness.” In ancient times, men placed one hand on a testicle when taking an oath in court. Interestingly, there is no record of women having to put one hand on their vagina when doing the same thing. While we still take an oath in court, nobody is putting their hands on their genitals while doing so.[1]

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