Friday, February 26, 2021

 Hello My friends,

For those not aware, this year over 45 million people in America will be food deficient at some point and over 16 million of those who are going hungry are children. With their Cooking Matters, School BreakfastDine OutTaste of the NationBake SaleNo Kid Hungry This Summer programs and proper nutrition initiatives, No Kid Hungry is committed to making sure that our children get the food they need to grow, be healthy and lead productive lives.

So my friends, let's get to the important part of this blog post. I recently took the No Kid Hungry Pledge and have committed to being a part of the No Kid Hungry Team! I also committed to being a No Kid Hungry Blogger, doing what I can to be a beacon, a voice, helping to get the message out. I am asking you all, especially during this current pledge drive to do the same.

If you are a blogger, writer or journalist who has a public voice I am asking you to use your voice and join me and this worthwhile organization and help us eradicate childhood hunger in our lifetime. To find out how to become a No Kid Hungry Blogger, just go to this link; BECOME A NO KID HUNGRY BLOGGER, answer a few questions and get the details on how you can help.

For the rest of you , I am asking you to step up with me, take the No Kid Hungry Pledge, join the fight against childhood hunger and do whatever it is you can to help. Whether you simply donate, or hold a bake sale, or have a barbecue, is no matter. What does matter is that you do something, because together, we can make sure that we leave No Kid Hungry!


A Moment in Time...

There are moments when it truly dawns on me how blessed I have been and continue to be. The memories, experiences, joys and sorrows I have shared with you all...will be with me throughout eternity. I salute you, my Band of Brothers & Sisters...

A Memory
A few years ago, I attended a "Dinner in the Garden" and it was a smashing success. What a spectacular setting for a five star wine dinner. On tap for the evening was an intimate line up of some stellar chefs, who wowed us with fresh, minutes before picked, produce and sustainable organic ingredients, delivering an experience that was written indelibly on my heart.

With a backdrop of rows of fresh greens and herbs, it wasn't just the jazz trio sending out smooth cool vibes across the field, or the perfect weather the evening produced. It wasn't just the Sunset, bathing the greenhouse and guests with Golden Sunshine. Nor was it the guests, dressed in the finest traditions of Southern outdoor dining, walking the fields, mingling, picking and tasting fresh herbs. It wasn't just the spectacular meal, served in fine style by a bow-tied waitstaff. Nor was it just the seeing of friends and sharing a glass of fine wine. I realized as I stood in the midst of the garden, wine glass in hand, having stopped to take in the scene before me, that it was all those things combined together at this one place, at this one precise moment in time, that had created what was almost a perfect experience. 

Wide and scattered, people of all walks, like sands through the hourglass, converging at this singular
point in time. And it was good...and it was Wholesome, Where it should be and...all that it Could be..(Action!👉:  John, "Is this Heaven?" Ray,"No it's Iowa. John,"Huh, I coulda sworn this was Heaven." (...aaand CUT. that's a wrap folks, lets have lunch.....😉) 

It's amazing when what happens when We stop trying to be the Wave, never looking behind at the turbulent crest, instead allowing the Swell to find us. Its' only then, when we let go and just ride that peace and contentment come. When you simply allow His Hand to guide you...on His wave...riding the smooth glass like Path our Father sets before us, all will be okay. 

My gift from The Source on this evening, aside from spending quality time with good friends in such a wonderful setting, was that somehow He had allowed me to glimpse the uniqueness of the moment and see it while I was in it. You know what I mean, one of those moments in time that we usually say to ourselves in hindsight, "I wish I was aware at the time how special that moment was." Too often we are so busy looking ahead to the next thing on our schedule that we forget to take the time to appreciate the 'moment' when it happens.

Friends, if you have been reading me for any length of time, you know that life has thrown me some curves, as I'm sure it has you as well. While I am no zexpert and can't tell you what to do, I can give my advice at what not to do. For all our planning, stressing and worrying about what the future may bring, I have learned one thing; no one is promised tomorrow. Don't miss the moment you are in. This very moment. You see, I'm sure all of you, like me. have too many times taken our adventures and our experiences for granted. From now on let us strive to make sure we are cognizant of that special moment, in that special place, with that special someone, or a group of special some ones, sharing and making memories that will transcend the generations of our progeny.

I have concentrated my world around Social Cuisine because I am very fortunate to have a soulmate, Elaine, who opened my eyes to what a common denominator food truly can be to human relationships. I believe it is a great unifier that binds us all. Sharing a meal with friends is so much more than just eating great food and enjoying fine wine. Somehow, a shared meal is the perfect vehicle for a connection between friends, family, or even strangers. It is why I am so passionate and fortunate to share my culinary journeys with you. I'm sure all of us can remember times, when dining, that you've engaged perfect strangers in conversation. See, it seems no matter our ethnic or cultural differences, we all remember the dumplings our moms made. Or that special dessert. Or simply the act of sitting at a table with those you care about, sharing a meal. It is a truly powerful experience. Social, yet intimate all at once.

Throughout history, throughout cultures, the meal is the one constant that opens the discourse, bridges the gap, connecting rather than dividing us. The dinner table is where treaties were written, alliances made, scholarly discourse engaged in. Ideas that changed the world, in most cases, happened at a dinner table, or at a campfire, over a meal. For most now though, eating has become just a means of sustenance. Fuel. In the busy scurry of life, sometimes we forget what a meal with family and friends can do for us, both spiritually and emotionally.

Don't you love meeting a friend for coffee, or a bite for lunch, or dinner. We look forward to it. We text what time and where we are and we always feel better for it. We share pictures of our meals on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Food is the one thing we all share equally. Look around, see all those people on cell phones, trying to stay connected? How connected do you feel when you share a meal with someone? For those of us that are fortunate enough to realize this, sitting at the dinner table with friends and loved ones has never been about the act of eating. Whether fine dining or casual, it is never about WHAT we were eating, it was always where and with whom. That is always first and foremost.

As a self titled gourmet, as my palette has become more sophisticated, I'll admit, I now care very much what I'm eating, especially with friends. However, I'm comfortable in the fact that my predilection for fine, or simple quality cuisine just makes the social act of sharing a meal more enjoyable and meaningful. So, the next time you want to connect, re-connect, apologize, congratulate, or just shoot the breeze, do it over a meal. Life becomes so much more civil with shared experiences. And make sure you don't miss the moment. Revel in the laughter, the camaraderie, the connection. Look around the table, realize and appreciate those you are sharing your sphere with, THIS moment actually is special.