Convenience vs. simplicity

“If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?” — book title by Erma Bombeck

“Alexa, pit these cherries for me.’

To suggest that a bowl of cherries will be pitted on command to an interactive gadget may be ludicrous, but it is illustrative of the nature of humankind to optimize life with whatever makes the effort less difficult. If there is a feeling of “being in the pits,” an obsession with convenience may be overshadowing the joy that can be found through the routine of daily living.

Psychologist Dr. Nicole Beurkens, of Horizons Developmental Resource in Caledonia, describes in an article, “Mindful eating for families,” how anxiety and tension can be reduced by how we eat. Her suggestions are more involved than being conscious of what we put in our mouth. Mindfulness is “the basic human ability to be fully aware of where we are and what we are doing” applied to gastronomy, “the practice or art of choosing, cooking, and eating good food.”

Reading through the suggestions, it is apparent that each meal be approached with an attitude of thanksgiving, to be looked upon as an opportunity to connect. Plan ahead to have food available at times people can share and have conversation, whether it be an afterschool snack or an evening meal. She emphasizes that, to maximize the experience, people should eat without distraction.

That is the social concerns of eating. Availability is a factor, as well. The demand for fruits and vegetables has grown with an ever-increasing population centered in urban areas. Consumers expect to have available a wide variety of produce year-round. As consumers we have become accustomed to “truck ripened” produce, harvesting has to be done before maturity to reach market. The genetic development of plants favors those varieties that have a longer shelf life.

In late summer and early fall, those of us who live in Northeast Michigan have the opportunity to rediscover the taste of “vine ripened” fruit and vegetables. Several farmers markets are operating in the area that offer a wide variety of homegrown and homemade fruits, vegetables, and products.

Living well is like baking a fresh fruit pie from scratch, success comes through measured steps with the right mix of fat and sugar to not be crumbly or too tart. Those who have had the patience to learn and willingness to make the effort to bake fresh fruit pies can serve a slice of their accomplishment with pride.

Don’t forget to leave room for dessert!

“The pleasure of the table belongs to all ages, to all conditions, to all countries, and to all areas; it mingles with all other pleasures and remains at last to console us for their departure.” — Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, “The Physiology of Taste” (1825).


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