Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tip#20: Comfort Food For Your Soul - Meet Joe Black

There is an old style greasy spoon near me called The Stem Open Kitchen, which to me, is a Toronto landmark I hope never leaves. It still has its original neon sign outside faded over time with some letters in the name burnt out. And thankfully the warm, timeless atmosphere and decor hasn't changed in the two decades I've known and loved the place.

Meet Joe Black (1998)

The fantasy romance drama, Meet Joe Black, is about a wealthy dying man (Anthony Hopkins) who makes a deal with Death/Joe Black (Brad Pitt) to prolong his life long enough to make sure his company and family are safe. There are powerful and moving performances by all as well as a strange yet beautiful love story.

A scene in the movie that captures that warm comfort food feeling is an opening sequence where Joe meets his love in an open kitchen diner. That scene was full of morning light and magic and you could almost smell the hot coffee in the air.

In a later scene, Joe tries peanut butter for the first time. You can see his childlike expressions of sublime delight indicate that he has discovered why many others consider peanut butter as a favourite comfort food.

Over the years at The Stem I've enjoyed having their tasty breakfasts especially when shared with a friend. And it helps that the taste of everything hasn't changed in decades. Recently I was there having my regular sausages and eggs breakfast. I casually dunked my buttered toast into my fresh coffee and tasted it. The taste triggered such happy memories and I was suddenly transported to my childhood.

Happy Childhood Memories

Dunking toast in coffee reminded me of when I was little and seeing my dad do the same during breakfast. I could feel the morning weekend sun warming the dining table; the aroma of coffee and sizzling bacon filling the air; the love of my parents and siblings. And of course I'll always remember my dad letting me have a taste his buttered toast dipped in coffee. This experience always takes me back to a warm and safe and happy period of my life.

These happy memories are like little packets of positive energy that can lift you up in seconds. They are keys to re-igniting a positive attitude when you need it most. On the flipside negative memories of the past can bring your energy and enthusiasm down. The key is learning to change your focus back to happy, re-energizing memories. You are filled with a personal catalog of happy moments within you that you can access like files on a computer. All you have to do is choose the positive ones.

So think about what your comfort food for your soul is. What childhood aromas do you remember loving? What tastes do you remember that you simply must have once in awhile in your adult life? What sights excite you instantly to make your mouth water? Whatever your answers are this is what passion feels like!

We store inside ourselves an abundance of juicy sensory experiences from our early formative years. Treat yourself once in awhile and allow this positive energy to send your senses and spirit soaring.

Emmanuel Lopez
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007

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