Two Fridges and a Deep Freeze 2/08

February 2008

cheetah

The best gift a person can receive is the one he or she is not expecting, or the one your spouse receives that you can also enjoy.

This gift was the DVD series "Planet Earth." It’s a BBC production with a colossal budget, five years in the making, using 40 cameramen across 200 locations. Planet Earth celebrates our planet. It is incredibly beautiful and just plain incredible.

The formula is amazingly simple. Planet Earth takes us to every biome of the world, showcasing the climate, the wildlife, and the inherent struggles and miracles. It’s the circle of life, of which survival of the fittest figures prominently. Of course there’s the odd mating ritual thrown in, just to kick things up.

In watching Planet Earth I was reminded that unlike most animals in the wild, most humans, on this continent anyway, have an abundance of food. Yet we seem to live in fear of being without. In reality, food is everywhere and most of us consume more than our share.

It was not that long ago that the struggle for food and life was also true for humans on this planet. Look around. We’ve left the country for the city and many of us have two fridges and a deep freeze. We spend hundreds of dollars at wholesalers who sell us food with an extended shelf life to fill our pantries. We don’t want to run out. Then we stash snacks in our desk drawers and cars just in case we get hungry.

Have you ever been starving? Have you ever run out of food? Our teenagers would tell you we do. Let me assure you, we have NEVER run out of food. We just run out of variety and choices.

I wonder if choosing an attitude of abundance versus scarcity and fear would have an impact on the amount of food we consume. I wonder if having only a tiny, apartment sized fridge, common in much of the world, would make us more grateful for what we have. I even wonder if we are lucky to have so much.

Perhaps I’m stuck in the past. Upon watching Nicole Kidman in the movie "Cold Mountain" I felt a tug at the simple, yet difficult life around the time of the late 1800s. I guess I have never really embraced what most of the world calls progress. I appreciate all things simple and know I have much to learn about an attitude of abundance. This brings me to Sarah Ban Breathnach.

New York Times #1 Best Selling author, Sarah Ban Breathnach, wrote a book called "Simple Abundance." It is based upon six simple and yet profound principles:

Gratitude

Simplicity

Order

Beauty

Harmony

Joy

BanBreathnack defines Simple Abundance as

1. an inner journey

2. a spiritual and practical course in creative living

3. a tapestry of contentment.

What would it look like to apply Ban Breathnach’s principles to food and the planet? Here are some thoughts off the top of my head.

Gratitude – Look inside and look around. Gratitude is a reasonable starting point for every day and every meal. Give thanks. And then partake.

Simplicity – simple, fresh ingredients, prepared simply.

Order – Sorry, this is not about menus. Have you ever noticed there is an absence of clutter in nature? How does your kitchen compare?

Beauty – the natural beauty of the planet. Think about color, shape and texture and make it happen on your plate.

Harmony – Can we all get along? There really is room enough for all of us. Let’s keep the peace, starting at the dinner table.

Joy – Food is to be enjoyed. For me, it is especially joyful in the outdoors. What do you need to receive joy from food?

Planet Earth. Simple Abundance.