Getting eggs onto the plate.

Have you ever wondered how many people it takes to get a poached egg onto your breakfast plate?

When I was a small boy I knew everyone involved in the process at our place.

We had a henhouse full of chooks in the yard.Chook

The bag of wheat came from my grandfather’s farm and the food scraps from the same kitchen I ate in. Often, I was the one feeding the chooks, gathering the eggs into a basket, and carrying them to my mother in the kitchen. She was responsible for that last important step of getting the eggs onto the plate – cooking. My father was responsible for chopping the wood that fuelled the stove in the kitchen.

These days, I need to appreciate a few more people for that poached egg on my breakfast plate.

For starters, there is no henhouse in the yard. The chooks that lay the eggs I eat live on a free-range poultry farm located on Kangaroo Island, where a team of people is responsible for their welfare, and collecting and packing the eggs.

A driver for a transport company picks up the eggs from the farm and delivers them to a distribution centre on the mainland, using the ferry service. From there someone else transports the eggs to the shop, where they are unloaded for an assistant to place on the shelf, from which I pick them up.

Someone built the truck used to carry the eggs. Someone services that truck to keep it on the road. Someone built the shop that my greengrocer leases. My greengrocer employes the assistant that puts the eggs on the shelf and the one that takes my money when I purchase them.

I’m still the one carrying the eggs on their trip to the kitchen, but now they come in a special carton that someone had to make, and they are stored in the refrigerator until I’m ready to eat them. Someone designed and built that refrigerator, and there is an entire industry devoted to supplying the electricity required to operate it.

fried-eggsOn the morning that I decide to have eggs for breakfast, I also need to be grateful to the company that supplies the gas powering my stove.

It’s a fairly intricate web of connections, isn’t it? And, it applies to any food we buy.

 

We have a lot to be grateful for when you consider how smoothly the system works – most of the time.

Thanks for dropping by, Peter

 

Images from OpenClipArt.org

Cooking gratitude

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I never imagined in my wildest writing dreams that I’d be writing about cooking.

This week I’m nearing the end of the first draft of Cooking 4 One.

Somehow I’ve written 800 words on cooking eggs. Took longer to write that section than what it takes to cook eggs every way I know how.

As I write down the little I know about cooking, I have come to realise how indebted we are, not only to that long line of mothers and grandmothers that came before us and passed on their knowledge and skills, but to those early members of our species who were curious enough to experiment with fire and mixing things together.

How did they find out that wrapping a root vegetable, like a potato in leaves, and placing it in the fire would give them something a lot more edible than the raw potato? What about deciding that throwing the carcass of that kangaroo or wildebeest, they had just spent hours hunting and killing, onto the fire for a while might be a good idea? You can just see the hunters looking at the guy who first made that suggestion.

“Are you nuts, Harry? We’ve spent all morning hunting this thing and now you want us to burn it?”

“Trust me, boys. It will taste a lot better, and the bits we can’t eat today will still be good tomorrow.”

Obviously, enough people trusted Harry, because we’re all doing it today.

And how did those ideas spread across the globe? There was no internet back in neolithic times. They didn’t even have books or the Post Office for spreading their news. Word of mouth only.

We take so much for granted. Ever wondered who worked out how you could store noodles by drying them? What about making the noodles in the first place? What would I be eating if someone hadn’t worked out how to make pasta?

You can eat eggs raw but someone worked out you could cook them in hot water, and not only do the cooked eggs taste different, you can carry them around with you without worrying about dropping them and losing their precious contents. Today you just go down to the supermarket and buy a carton of eggs, take them home and cook them any number of ways – and it’s no big deal.

I suspect a lot of us, me included until recently, take cooking for granted because someone else does it for us. We forget that all those skills came from someone in history or that someone today has to keep doing it – if we are going to eat today.

Now that I’m cooking for myself, I am forever grateful to all those early pioneers who took all the risks and reduced it down to a few basic skills I can apply in the kitchen. I am also grateful to all those people who worked out all the ways we use for storing and preserving food. I’m especially grateful for whoever is responsible for putting that incredible range of pasta sauces in little jars on the supermarket shelves.

And I’m grateful to Toni, my wife, for the apprenticeship I served as her kitchen hand.

Take a moment today to express gratitude to whoever it is that either cooks for you or taught you how to cook for yourself.

 

Thanks for dropping by, Peter

A broken heart is not the end of the story

If every cloud has a silver lining, gratitude is the window for viewing the storm clouds of your life to see that lining. You can choose resentment, if you prefer, but you’ll have a different experience.

Shit happens. You can see it as a mess you have to deal with or a pile of fertiliser; a disaster or an opportunity.

You’re not likely to see an event as a growth opportunity if you’re resentful about it showing up in your life. Consider the event so many ‘love’ songs are dedicated to – the broken heart. Where’s the opportunity there? What is there to be grateful about in being rejected by the love of your life?

If the one who has left you for someone else is happy, you could be grateful for their happiness. I mean, if you love them, don’t you want them to be happy? You could be thankful for being released from that relationship so that you can meet someone else. Think back over your experience of relationship endings. Would you be with your current lover if someone else hadn’t decided you were not the one? Ever met that first love years later and been grateful it didn’t work out? Some of us have. Maybe that’s an advantage of being around for awhile, you get to be grateful for having been spared the consequences of errors of judgement made in your misinformed youth.

A long time ago, when I was much younger, and less aware, I had the dumped experience. I sure as hell didn’t consider gratitude back then. I was too busy feeling devastated and suffering from being broken hearted. Fortunately, as time passed I grew tired of feeling sorry for myself and took the risk of meeting someone else. A few broken hearts later, some of which I broke (a bloke had to even the score didn’t he?), I’d had enough experience of life to discern the difference between love and lust, and I met the woman who is still married to me. Thanks, sweetheart.

So, with hindsight, I’m grateful for the broken heart experience. And yes, for readers of the previous post, I have forgiven myself for all those ‘not so kind’ thoughts I harboured about the girl that decided I was not the one. I only feel love when I think of her now, and I am grateful for the experience of the relationship.

The lover doesn’t change as a person just because he or she changes partners. You can be grateful for having known them or you can be miserable because you’re on your own again.

Over time I’ve come to understand that broken hearts are a sign of attachment or dependence. Feeling broken hearted is more about you and what you think you have lost. It’s about having handed over your power to be happy to someone else. It’s a misinterpretation of self value.

No-one takes anything away from who you are when they leave. You were perfect just the way you were before they arrived, and you’re still perfect just the way you are now that they’re gone, no matter how they left.

It’s okay to miss them. It’s okay to release them. It’s okay to love yourself just the way you are. It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks about you – it’s all in their mind. You only have to be concerned with what’s in your mind, and as I discussed a few posts ago, you get to choose that.

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Thanks for dropping by,

Peter