A Trip to Bountiful

November 4, 2011

The posh dining room was alive with vibrant colors, delectable aromas, and stimulating clatter and chatter. Upon entering the restaurant, the maître d’ invited us to take our time viewing the sumptuous gastronomical presentation before taking our seats at our beautifully appointed table.

We were amazed as we eyed the lavish ice sculptures, towering fountains of bubbling champagne, cascading waterfalls of Belgian chocolate, as well as strikingly decked linen covered tables filled with the most artful arrangements of food imaginable.

Multiple chefs, in full regalia, manned their various stations with culinary prowess. This was undoubtedly the most magnificent holiday buffet I had ever seen. To describe it as opulent would not do it justice.

My six year old niece, Liza was having her first grand resort restaurant experience. Dressed for the occasion with matching purse, dress and shoes, her wide eyes were taking it all in.

My family and I surveyed the grandeur of the feast that lay before us. We oohed and aahed as we watched flames blaze while chefs flipped omelets mid air, carved sides of beef and filled silver buckets with freshly shucked oysters. Liza wriggled with delight as she experienced the drama of it all.

Once seated, the maître d’ handed us leather bound parchment menus. Collectively, we buried our noses in the menus and studied in polite silence before my mother offered that the duck sounded appealing. My brother stated that the Caesar salad was probably large enough to share. Meanwhile, the delicious aromas filled the air as the chefs continued to amaze the holiday diners with their culinary flair. I could see the look of bewilderment grow on Liza’s face as we conversed about the menu choices.

Growing more and more frustrated with the menu conversation, she turned to my father and asked in a polite, yet frustrated tone of voice, “Why did that man give us menus?” My father responded to her question but the answer did not satisfy her.

“No grandpa, I mean, why did they give us menus to order from when that huge buffet is right over there? Isn’t that for us?” He quickly understood her confusion and tried to explain that we could either order from the menu or eat from the buffet. The choice was ours.

Still perplexed, she questioned, “Why would anyone do that? Why would anyone order from this (pointing to the bound pages of parchment lined paper with hard-to-read italicized type), when they could have that? (Pointing to the most magnificent display of food imaginable.)

“I don’t know,” Liza. “Maybe that’s too much of a good thing for some people.”

“Not for me!” she exclaimed, “I choose the buffet!”

We all closed our menus and piped in, “Me too!”

This isn’t a story about all-you-can-eat buffets.

Or about gluttony versus abstinence.

Or even opulence versus simplicity.

It’s a story about how relishing the bounty laid before us – our amazing, magnificent lives – is always a decision we can make.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded to take our noses out of the limited menu and “choose the buffet!”

So, how do you relish the abundant feast of your life? What are you grateful for that has you wide eyed and marveling? I’d love to hear how you practice gratitude each day…

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzanne November 28, 2011 at 11:38 am

Love this story! So grateful that my dear sis-in-law hosted Thanksgiving this year. After substitute teaching for almost 2 weeks straight, it was nice to not have the added pressure of the table decorations and timed turkey planning at my home! Lovely day spent with local loved ones.

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Lisa November 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Hi Suzanne! So glad to hear that your dear sister-in-law hosted the giving of thanks buffet – that alone is a reason to give thanks! Sounds like you had a wonderful day.

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