Contentment for 2009

Filed under: Holidays

Dishing it out Rob Barrett

Welcome to Dishing it Out, ParentDish's weekly food column. Rob Barrett is a dad who knows his way around the kitchen; his web site, Cooking For Dads, provides simple video recipes for dads (and moms!). You can read all the Dishing it Out posts here.

It was a simple cheese plate and some french bread, oh, and some red wine, but it brought me such joy. I was flying Air France out of Paris and they brought around this plate with 3 different kinds of cheese, some crackers and a small loaf of french bread. It was just a blast and the French table wine was a perfect companion. I sliced my cheese, poured my wine and settled in for a relaxing flight, a big smile on my face.

On the return flight 3 weeks later a curious thing happened. Both Rich (a friend flying with me) and myself were held up at the gate as the crew jockeyed around the seating. We joked, "Maybe they're bumping us up to first class." When the time for boarding came, sure enough, Rich was bumped up to first class but I was sent back to coach. Rats. I sure could have used some good food and a big seat for the next six hours. When they came around with the cheese plate I was bummed. I stewed about what Rich was getting up in first class and how close I had been to getting it as well. This time the cheese plate brought me no joy, no blast and for sure no smile.
As I begrudgingly nibbled my meager portions and my puny little crackers and bread, it hit me, how had this plate brought me such joy on the flight in but now was bumming me out? The cheeses were the same and the bread was the same and even the wine was the same. The only difference was the imagined discrepancy between myself and Rich who, I was sure, was dining in luxury. The cheese plate hadn't changed, just my expectations, my jealousy, my bad attitude, my non-contentment.

So I decided to get over myself and try and find the joy I felt on the flight out. I forced myself to smile. So many times in my life happiness is a choice.

I'm deciding this year to be content. Not to lose weight or to exercise more (both things I should do) but to be content. And if necessary, to force myself to smile. In a year when I may have to do with less, I'm not going to worry about those who do with more.

The twist the story was that as we got off the plane, Rich told me they didn't have enough food for him up there and that he got nothing. I think my smile became a little more sincere.

Rob's Contentment Cheese Plate for 2009

Swiss Cheese
Spreadable Port wine cheese
Brie Cheese
Blue Crab Spread (our favorite from Costco)
Rice Crackers from Trader Joes
and
2 Buck Chuck Cabernet Sauvignon (Charles Taylor also from the Trader)

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.