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  • Writer's pictureDiana Scalia

What is My Forest?

Each morning, I read from a daybook by Alan Cohen. Titled A Deep Breath of Life, it really is just that. I love this book! Even though I’ve read it over and again for years, its daily wisdom always seems new to me.


One story this week was about the lives of two parties who led lives of peace and simplicity, followed their own divine guidance, and nurtured the earth.


Elzéard Bouffier was a humble shepherd who turned a wilderness into a lush forest, planting one acorn at a time. Scott and Helen Nearing initiated the back-to-the-land movement in the 1930s; Alan met them personally. The Nearings left their comfy professional lives, moved to the mountains in Vermont, and lived off the grid (before anyone understood what that meant).


All three of these extraordinary human beings chose to be about bringing their world back to life. Alan asked (me) at the end of the story, What is your forest? How can you bring your world back to life?


Thank you for asking, Alan.


My forest is sharing the power of Love, through food. I have always said that my purpose here, is to bring people to the table. I have also said, for a very long time now, that my personal mission is to answer the question, what would Love do here?


This week, I’ve spent time wondering what I’m growing to bring my world to beautiful life.


In a recent, wonderful conversation with my writing coach and friend Debby, I told her of the new, lovely Café Bonaparte that opened near me. I’ve been craving a local place like this for a very long time. This week I visited for the first time, and made a point to tell the team who took care of me, how much I appreciated their warmth and hospitality. They were quite touched by my compliment, and it meant the world to me to share that with them.


Last week I went to my favorite local seafood counter, The Great American International Seafood Market. I bought mussels for one of my cookbook recipes, and had the sweetest exchange there, with Jason. I told him that in my book I am recommending that people make friends with their fish mongers! In my experience, these pros are absolutely enchanted by a customer who appreciates their offerings. I can’t wait to report to Jason this week, how amazingly delicious my mussel dish turned out, thanks to his first-class service!


Debby and I spoke about how the habit of curating relationships around food elevates the joy of one’s food – and certainly one’s cooking - experience! It adds a generous dose of Love to recipes, which is one of my favorite tricks as a Chef ;) and is also absolutely, what being a Kitchen Mystic is about.


By now I’ve come to believe that the following are some seeds planted in my own personal forest, and nourished by Love. I pray that forest is growing and thriving.


I love being grateful around food at all times. I’m grateful that mine are the hands that are used by the Divine to lovingly prepare food that nourishes hungry bodies, hearts, and spirits ... including my own.


I love befriending and appreciating those who curate my groceries. I’ve done this forever as a Chef, and especially as partner-host of our Melting Pot Food Tours.


I love the joy of sourcing artisan and high-quality ingredients, and especially shopping at independently-owned boutique grocery shops.


I love being a kind and friendly customer when I dine out. I love sincerely writing 5-star reviews, and mentioning my favorite team members by name.


I love simply savoring the best coffee and croissant in town, ideally in a beautiful setting, while I write about all of the above.


And now it’s my turn to ask you ... What is your forest?


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