Every year, come late October/early November, the questions are usually the same. “Well, if your wife is a vegetarian, what does she eat at Thanksgiving?” Lynn has been a vegetarian since she was 15 years old, and for as long as I’ve known her, vegetarianism has been a key part of who she is, and how she lives her life.
The life Lynn lives is full of joy and abundance, and never has there been a time when we don’t join friends or family for a fun meal out. Sure her food options may be a bit more limited at a seafood or steak restaurant, but Lynn always makes things work. She never shares any negativity when other people eat food she would not eat, and she always enjoys her meals and the people she is with.
Thanksgiving is actually a lot easier for Lynn that people may think. Of course she does not eat the turkey, but almost everything else works absolutely fine for her. Just to be sure, Lynn always makes her delicious Fall River Vegetable Stew from the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook, and brings plenty to share with everyone.
Made with corn, potatoes, green beans, carrots, garlic and onion in a hearty red wine vegetable stock, this is a delicious meal that evokes the smells and the spirit of late autumn. The rich, savory stew is deeply satisfying, and is a wonderful compliment to the other courses we usually find at the Thanksgiving table. Lynn is a vegetarian, and but through a simple pro-active step on her part, she makes Thanksgiving work for her.
I was scrolling through my Thanksgiving photos the other day, came across this photo of Lynn’s Fall River Vegetable Stew, and realized that the way Lynn deals with food in her life provides wonderful lessons for the way we can deal with the technology we use every day. The hardware we are using, or the software we are working with may not be perfect, we just need to find a way to make it work for the way we work, for the needs we have, and for the time we have available.
1. Know what it can do
When Lynn goes to a barbecue restaurant, she does not necessarily expect a wide variety of vegetarian options. She knows what barbecue restaurants do, and more importantly, she knows what they don’t do. Take the time to learn what the expensive piece of hardware you are using does and doesn’t do. Make sure you understand the strategy and intent behind the software you are using. YouTube may in fact be the 2nd most used search engine in the world (it is!), but it was built to share video. If you expect YouTube will help you find websites and newspapers, you will most likely be frustrated and disappointed.
2. Ask important questions
When we go out for Mexican food, Lynn asks if the beans were cooked in lard. When we go for Thai food, she asks they use fish oil to make the Pad Thai. Whatever food she gets, she does her best to make sure she understands what is on the plate. The hardware and software you are using most likely performs a wide variety of functions, but you may only use it for the two or three things you need the most. What else does it do? What does it feel like the software should be able to do, but it is not immediately apparent to you how to make that happen. Look at the phone, and think about it from a different perspective. Take a deep breath, and look at your computer or device screen. Chances are, all the information you need is there in front of you, you just need to find it. Ask the questions that will get you to the functionality and utility you are looking for.
3. Make it easy
Lynn may ask if the Thanksgiving stuffing was made inside the turkey, but she would not ask that a separate recipe of stuffing is made just for her. Marshmallows are often baked on top of sweet potatoes, but since marshmallows are usually made with gelatin (a product of pork or cow skin and bone), Lynn simply takes a pass. Lynn makes her stew, and she finds the foods she can eat. She makes it easy for everyone. If you primarily use your computer for email, put an email shortcut on your desktop to save time accessing the functionality you need the most. If you want to connect with Facebook while on the go, download the app to your phone. There are more difficult ways to access email and Facebook, but there’s no reason you can’t make things much easier for yourself on most hardware and software platforms you use regularly.
Lynn knows what she will eat, she knows what she will not eat, and she knows how to live her life day to day so she is always able to take care of herself. While, on one hand, it could be argued she has chosen a more difficult path for herself due to her diet, she does not live a difficult life. Her platform, if you will, is vegetarianism, and she makes that platform work for her.
What is your platform? What is the tool you are working with? How you can you make the platform work well? How you can make your life easier? What is your Fall River Vegetable Stew?