This year’s topic made me laugh. What can I share from my table? Well, cooking with Bonnie generally means scrounging. It means throwing together ingredients that may never have been thrown together before, just because they were in the cupboard. I always say that I would be a good bachelor cook. People groan when they hear that dinner was made by…moi. In fact, my own mother once commented, “Bonnie, the reason you’re not a good cook is that you don’t care how anything tastes.” Well, duh. You mean most people do?
However, there is wisdom in my method (no, seriously!) and it is this: almost anything CAN go with almost anything. All you need is an open mind and a willingness to experiment. Salsa CAN be a dressing for pasta (hey, that’s probably how arrabiata was invented, admit it!). Dried fruit can go in a green salad (and if you’ve tried it you know that it makes a very delicious autumn blend).
This is true in life as well. Democrats and Republicans CAN intermarry, and I know several who have. A transplanted Alaskan like me can, however reluctantly, live in the flatlands of America’s Midwest. People from different parts of town (yep, this is usually harder than crossing the country) can go and live and work and volunteer in…other parts of that SAME town.
We are called to go where we have to go and work with the materials that we have to work with. That’s what I can share from my table.
Only that’s not all. When we go where we are called to go, and when we work with the materials we have to work with, that’s when the magic happens. That’s when we find abundance. That’s where we find the rich, enlightening perspectives that we may not manage to get from our own neighbors (not that our neighbors aren’t also enlightened — it’s just that they thought we already knew all the stuff they have to tell us). Abundance does not lie in sameness. Abundance is in diversity and difference. Did we really think we were scrounging? Nope, we were learning lessons in gratitude. We were letting the scales fall off our eyes so we could see all the abundance that we are already surrounded with no matter where we may be or what challenges we may face.
As the Zen story goes, even the guy being chased by tigers, who fell off a cliff and grabbed frantically at a last branch that was slowly giving way, as he contemplated more tigers circling beneath him, could still take a moment to scrounge and appreciate a strawberry from a vine. Bon appetit!