Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?


If you have read my past blog posts, you’ll know that I have started a wonderful project to help our local food bank.  We are making Freezer Crockpot meals so families can feel the satisfaction of having a home-cooked meal on the table, once or twice a week, that is made with REAL food.  The ingredients are things like chicken, stewing beef, ground beef, ground turkey, vegetables and potatoes.   It has been a love affair of mine since it began last winter and continues to capture my heart.

After a sneaky email from a friend, I was recently interviewed by a local TV news station and the reporter and her fellow newscasters were impressed by the project as well.  We had a small segment on the 6:00 news to help promote our cause and gain more coverage to help increase donations.  The coverage was also put on the TV stations’ and my Facebook page to  help spread the word so we could try to help more people who could use a hand this time of year.

I received some fantastic comments and queries from others who wish to start the same type of project in their community, which is exactly what I was hoping would happen.  But amidst the praises and pats on the back, I should have known there lurked a few eyes that glowed eerily in the darkness.

After watching the clip on the news, a woman called the lodge where I work (and the kitchen we use for prepping meals) and was irate that we were not wearing gloves while we prepared these meals.  Upon first hearing of this call, I was taken aback…..and then I was angry.  I have volunteered countless hours of my time to make life a little better for those who struggle through the winter months, only to have this woman challenge my culinary safety practices.


(image credit)

I have been trained in kitchens since I was in college.  Before I went to college I worked in restaurants.  And in the 30+ years I have worked in the hospitality industry, I have never encountered a Chef who wears gloves, or makes their staff wear gloves, unless they have been cut and are wearing a bandage.  Hospitality staff are trained in food safety.  From the temperature of a fridge, to the cooking temperature of meats and the frequent hand-washing to avoid cross-contamination, we are well-versed in following very strict guidelines.   Watch a few videos of Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Bourdain, Jamie Oliver or any of the popular cooking-challenge shows and tell me if you see their hands concealed by Latex gloves.  This is cooking, not open-heart surgery.

Sufficed to say, my blood pressure has come down and I am moving on.  One angry voice in a sea of positivity will not get me down.  I can only hope that, one day, this woman will get as much satisfaction from helping others as I do and will give the same strong-arm to anyone who tries to bring her down.




If I lived in Boston, I would say Buddha is ‘wicked smaht’


I’m sure we can all recall the many times in our childhood we were told to treat people the way we would like to be treated.   Do unto others.  It made a great deal of sense, it still does, and made us all (hopefully) more socially responsible and more polite human beings.

But somewhere along the path of treating others with respect and courtesy we may have drained our personal well of kindness and empathy and saved very little compassion for ourselves.  We spend so much time worrying about how we treat others that we fail to treat ourselves with the same dignity that we would impart to a stranger.


(image credit)

 It is instinctual to be concerned for others, to help those who need our help, but how often do we reflect on our own needs and drink from our own well of compassion?  We need our own help just as much as others may count on us for support.  There is a vast difference between wallowing in self-pity and allowing yourself a few moments to feel the pain of what is bothering you, to process it and to understand that giving yourself time to heal is, not just okay but, a necessity.

We need to do unto ourselves and give the same common courtesy to ourselves that we were taught to give others.  To do anything less would be a grave injustice. As Buddha so wisely says, it would make us incomplete.  Denying ourselves that level of self-compassion makes us unworthy of being able to understand the message behind the emotion and renders us unable to truly share the gift of empathy.

It is better to give than to receive.  But it is acceptable and necessary to give to ourselves as well as give to others.  Compassion is not something you can only share with those around you.  Compassion is meant to encompass everyone, including you.