Recently, my sister texted me wanting to know who had mom’s cinnamon bun recipe.  An acquaintance told me she loved her Bubba’s Borscht soup recipe and a friend gave me a jar of homemade grape jam that her husband prepared from grapes he had grown.  There are cut from old magazines, written on 2 x 3 index cards, ear-marked in our favorite cookbooks and kept as family secrets for generations. There are cooking shows, famous restaurants and chefs.  Recipes are sacred.

From Egypt, where the 15th-century culinary recipe of ground tiger nuts and honey was eaten to Colonel Sander’s 11 herbs and spices, finger lickin’ chicken, food recipes have been around.  Nowadays we have entire channels called Food Network that cater to chefs, competitors creating and cooking and judges taste testing.

Years ago, my girlfriend and I ventured to Louisville, Kentucky.  She explained to me that we absolutely had to stop and eat at Brown’s and then proceeded to share with me the history of this famous dish. 

Whether it is a signature dish, a cooking class, Grandma’s cookies and cakes, Sunday’s roast dinners, pumpkin pies, sauces, spices, Christmas treats, grilled, barbequed steaks and boiled garlic potatoes, food is a matter of taste and the recipe is the reason for it.

There are also recipes for friendships and marriages and recipes for living well; recipes for happiness and recipes for disaster.  As young men and women long for mortality, they want to know the secret recipe for longevity.  After speaking to several seniors about their recipe for a successful life, many of them  shared healthy and simple ingredients for success.  Daniel J. Levitin recently wrote a book entitled, Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives.  He wondered why some people seem to age better than others. He alludes to five key factors:  a diet rich in vegetables and healthy fats, moderate exercise to generate oxygen to the blood, brain exercise, positive sleep hygiene and positive thinking.  Feelings of loneliness, not being appreciated and recognized were detrimental to a person’s health and caused chemical imbalance in the brain and body.  

There is a difference between aging successfully and optimal aging.  Aging successfully is an active engagement of life, functioning without disease or disabilities and being mentally and physically able and active. One wants to function socially, emotionally, cognitively, spiritually and physically in spite of external conditions such as a medical problem. And so, as we get ready to hunker down once again for winter, colder mornings and snow-covered trees, it’s important to think about what we are doing as we enter the winters of our lives – the greying hair, the more frequent aches and pains and generally slowing down.  Here is one recipe to get you thinking:

1 cup positive thoughts                                            1 cup of service to others                                                                   1 cup forgiveness                                                       1 cup of greens and fruit and wholesome food                                     1 tsp of exercise                                                         a dash of family, friends and fun

Mix these together and add days of joy, singing, sympathy and compassion.  Flavor this with love, folding in prayers, praise and faith.  Pour all of the mixture into daily life and bake together.  Serve with a smile and share slices of your life with others.  Oh, and share your favorite recipe with a friend!



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