Where there's food, there's conversation. There's a sharing of plates, and a sharing of words. A sense of nourishment that is joined with a sense of openness. Less forced, less awkward. More casual, more comfortable. With each bite, another revelation, another laugh, another smile, another emotion, another feeling. Another whatever.it.is that gets you through to your final bite. As they say, you are what you eat. Well, you are what you communicate.
We live in a fear-based society where vulnerability and open communication live behind a big wall. We're afraid to open our mouths and say too much, or say the wrong thing, in fear of embarrassment, stupidity or getting turned down. Or, perhaps it's our ego getting in the way of our actual thoughts and feelings, to cover up for what we're afraid to admit or share. But there's something about food that allows us to open up. To peel back the layers. After all, it's where several first dates start. Or...end. It's where creative ideas are born. Intimate conversations are exchanged, laughs are exchanged. Happy tears. Sad tears.
There's this one restaurant in New York City, ABC Kitchen, that I always visualize any time the idea comes up about conversations over food. I have taken family, friends, loved ones and colleagues to this restaurant and have never left without appreciating the conversations and memories that happen there. And of course, the incredible service and food. It is unparalleled.
There's just something about the connection between conversation and food. The memories and the moments are so vivid in my mind that I can play them back like a game of Clue. I was with "this person" at "that place" having a conversation about "x, y and z."
We talked about how that sundae is apparently Jay-Z's favorite dessert in NYC.
We shared our vision for a creative space where wellness lives in every nook and cranny over small plates and a bottle of wine.
I had one too many gin cocktails and spilled the beans.
We talked about how we were all leaving our old jobs to pursue passion projects and creative endeavors over spring pea guac, spicy battered shrimp and classy ass cocktails.
I nearly cried sitting behind a wired mountain of cheesecake lollipops, thanks to hormones that were through the roof on that particular night.
They are all so clear and I will always, always cherish them.
Recently, I spent hours having a very lighthearted, but honest and open conversation with a friend over a simple brunch-like meal. There was no agenda to it, she was just coming into town for the day and figured we'd catch up. Of course, I wanted there to be food and had a particular idea in mind: Savory Open-Faced Breakfast Sandwiches, as inspired by the talented and ever-so lovely Jessie Snyder of Faring Well.
We talked about our passions, and the particular things about them that make our heart skip a beat. We learned how we could help one another and support one another along our individual journeys as we grow and thrive and create. We moved from the kitchen, to the dining table, back to the kitchen. We finished the remnants of the avocado and left only crumbs on our plate. We wrapped it up with big hugs, positive thoughts, smiling faces and a sense of encouragement and motivation to keep doing what we're doing and not let any naysayers get in the way. It was refreshing, uplifting, and most importantly, delicious.
These breakfast sandwiches were so easy to make, and while trying to take the first bite may have felt a little aggressive (they were stacked jenga style), it was all worth it in the end.
Savory Open Faced Breakfast Sandwiches, adapted from Faring Well
For the sandwich:
2 slices of whole grain or gluten-free bread (I used local bread from Ellwood Thompson's)
1/2 block extra firm, sprouted tofu
2 tbsp of hummus (I used Hope Food's Classic Hummus)
fresh greens, such as organic spinach and fresh cilantro
1 medium avocado, ripened
extra virgin olive oil
a few pinches of sea salt
sesame or hemp seeds, to garnish
1. Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove to medium heat and add a teaspoon of oil to the pan. Rinse and pat dry the tofu, and slice into two 1/2 inch thick rectangles. Sprinkle one side of the tofu with a pinch of sea salt (and any other desired spices or seasonings) and place the seasoned side down in the skillet and then sprinkle the bare side with the same. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until brown and crispy.
2. While the tofu is sizzling, place each slice of bread in to a dry skillet on the stove and toast on medium heat for a few minutes.
3. Place the toasted bread on a plate and top with fresh greens, seared tofu, fresh avocado slices, and a sprinkle of sesame or hemp seeds (if desired).
4. Serve, communicate, communicate some more, and enjoy.
Cheers to eating well and communicating well.