All the Best

coffe-handsAll the Best

Why does the good life have to be so hard?

By Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown

This year is going to be the best one ever. I can feel it. This year I am declaring that I will live every day, in every way, and in all things as my very best. I endeavor to only expect and accept the best. To live in any other way would be a disservice to my very existence. It is my duty to enjoy the best of all there is. It is up to me to seek out the best in all things, and by doing so, I will be my best. It is requisite to my development as my highest self that I eat, drink, experience, and buy only that which is of the highest quality. This is my goal for this year. It is not to be entered into lightly. I am the gatekeeper of all that I allow into my awareness, therefore it is incumbent upon me to carefully consider my every decision and act accordingly. Well, anyway, this is what everything I read seems to suggest.

So, I am going to begin right now. To  start with, I usually have a cup of hot tea when I am writing in the winter time. I prefer herbal teas but now that I am on my newfound quest for only the best things in life I have to check out my tea options. I’ll be right back…

Okay. I’m finally back. After spending the last week researching tea it became clear that I could spend the rest of my existence studying the subject. However, I did learn that you must make sure to buy only the highest quality and well-sourced ingredients. Fortunately, or unfortunately—depending on how much time you have to devote to it–I learned a good place to start is to make sure to get your tea from an exclusively small, single estate preferably in India. I really need to spend more time on this, but it is clear that the Celestial Seasonings tea I have been drinking is inferior and I obviously can’t go on drinking that knowing there is a whole world of quality teas out there for me if I will just spend another month or two to learn about them. In the meantime, I am throwing out the tea I have been buying and will just have to do without until I can buy the best. Maybe I’ll have a cup of coffee instead. Oh, wait: If the tea that I had been buying was not up to par, then I am certain the coffee my husband makes every morning will never pass muster. Let me check. I’ll be right back….

Okay, I’m back. That was the longest two weeks, ever! Here’s what I know: It’s all about the bean. If you don’t have the absolutely best coffee beans In. The. World. …then your coffee drinking will be a very sad experience. You are just fooling yourself if you think you are enjoying your morning cup of joe if your coffee beans did not come from Ethiopia. Yes, according to my research there are some decent coffees from Latin America and other countries in Africa, but we are concerned about living our Best Life, so anything lesser will have to be eliminated. The Folgers will have to go. Also, I noticed there is a lot of talk surrounding coffee about Fair Trade, Equal Trade, single source, organic, the temperatures, rain fall, the mountain regions, climate, when it’s harvested, how it’s packaged, etc. In fact, there is so much to learn about coffee that it is in your best interest to take a coffee class or a coffee workshop. Actually, I think we should all consider taking a community college extension course on coffee before we continue our sad little morning Starbucks rituals. I am concerned about my husband, though. How do I tell him that the coffee he has been drinking for decades is not acceptable and that I’ll have to throw it out? How can he continue to enjoy his morning cup of coffee that clearly advertises it is 100 percent Columbian?! Not a word about Ethiopia! We will have to wait until we complete our coffee education before we can truly enjoy another cup of coffee. This is just in our own best interest. Until then it’s water. However, it must be a pure quality naturally fed spring water from some mountain in Europe. This does require some checking up on the water source. Until then, in order to live long enough to continue my studies for living my best life I will rely on the filtered water from my tap.

Okay, now I can begin–oh, wait! Now I am hungry. I can’t write on an empty stomach. I think I will go make a sandwich. But, first, I need to check on all my ingredients. I want it to be the best sandwich possible. I can’t settle for a bologna and American cheese on white bread. How could I live with myself? I don’t know how I survived my childhood. We must be well informed in order to make it through the day without accidentally finding ourselves settling for less than the best and wanting to end it all over a sandwich. This idea that nothing is worth having if it’s not the top of the line has been so reinforced into the daily conversation that it has even affected how I feel about mustard. And, salt. Sea salt specifically, as well as olive oil. Salt makes me sad now. That big blue round box of salt with the little girl and her umbrella on it are just too plain, now. I want my salt to have something, some pizazz. I never really cared for French’s yellow mustard. I always preferred Gulden’s Brown Spicy Mustard but lately, that just hasn’t been good enough, either. I bought a jar of imported mustard with the seeds in it to take myself up a notch, and I have to say that I did feel superior in the checkout line to the man behind me who was buying the plain yellow French’s.

As for olive oil, I have noticed there are now several local stores ready to educate me about the necessity of buying the right kind. I really don’t know how anyone can just stop by the regular grocery store, pick up a bottle of olive oil and feel comfortable with that. I blame this on Ina Garten, of course, who always makes a point to recommend “good” olive oil. Well, what makes “good” olive oil? Enquiring minds want to know. I must make myself a note to sign up for an olive oil education class after my classes on coffee, tea, cheese, mustard, wine and salt.

We are the curators of our lives and we must live it fully. We cannot be truly happy without the best of everything. Ignorance is not bliss. What you don’t know can hurt you. Oh, sure, you might think you are enjoying that Milky Way candy bar, but the rest of us know that you are not. We will just wait until we can get our hands on the perfect piece of handcrafted 72 percent dark chocolate that is only going to be produced next year from the very best cacao nibs single sourced from the Criollo tree found in Sri Lanka and promises to be the best ever with a touch of smoky sea salt found only off the coast of Wales. How could I even consider anything less? Of course, it will be a year or so before I can get it, but that will give me time to save up enough money to purchase it. Which will just make it that much sweeter. But, I feel so much better eating this than a store bought candy bar. Honestly, I just don’t know how anyone can do it.

How can my husband sit there, enjoying his Snickers candy bar not knowing one thing about the source of all the ingredients? How much chocolate is in there and where did it come from? For all he knows it came from some region that didn’t get the premium amount of rainfall last year and the cacao beans could be sub-par. Not to mention the peanuts! Where were they grown and are they organic? Did they come into contact with any other nuts?

How can he really enjoy it knowing that something so much better exists in the world? How can he be happy with anything less than the best?! How could he eat that in front of me?!

I’m starting to feel lightheaded and crazy now. I threaten my husband if he doesn’t come up with another candy bar. My sweet tooth is in full swing and I need chocolate and I need it now! I don’t care about the bean-to-bar artisan chocolate from Ecuador that is full of more anti-oxidants than my reasonably priced bottle of blended California red wine. All I want is chocolate. He leaves the room and comes back in and tosses me a tiny size Snickers leftover from Halloween. Nothing in this world could taste so good.

Okay, now I can finally begin writing….Oh, wait! Where did this paper come from? And, my pen, and what about the ink…

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