Advice for Eating Well - Be a "Yes, and" eater

When I was teaching theatre, I always encouraged my students to give an idea a try before rejecting it as a bad idea. I asked them to say 'yes' more than they said, 'no.' For example, try this activity with a buddy. It was one of my favorite games with which to begin my class.

Activity "Yes, and" 
Round 1: Spend one minute with a partner trying to plan an event. For the sake of fun, let's say the event is a friend's surprise birthday party. After your partner proposes their idea, respond "No, but..." and propose your own idea.

Reflect: What was it like planning a party that way?

Round 2: Spend another minute with a partner trying to plan your event. This time, after your partner proposes their idea, respond "Yes, and..." and propose your own idea.

Reflect: How did this round feel? How was it different from the first?

I love this exercise. It's hard and frustrating and super fun. When partners say "yes, and," conversation builds and flows rather than stumbling along. Great ideas are able to be generated when the conversation is additive.

"Yes, and" with Food
While, "Yes, and" is a great activity to kick off devising theatre or exploring improv, it's also a great way to approach food. Because of 'Yes, and," I love offal.

When I first started eating at fancy restaurants, I desperately wanted to feel comfortable and mask my nerves. I wanted to look like someone who was accustomed to using tons of silverware and having my bread crumbs raked away with a little silver crumber.

On that day, looking into the confident eyes of my waiter, I decided to try anything brought to my table at least once. Every amuse-bouche, every wine or special cheese, even that vile negroni one bartender touted as the best drink ever, would be bravely sampled and thoughtfully considered. Sometimes, my senses could not be fooled. My taste buds shouted, "NO! This is not for me!" Such was the case with the negroni, which i tried so much to like, and, most recently with a devastating attempt at a cobbler. They were not for my market.

For the most part, the practice of confidently saying "yes," to new foods and flavors has worked in my favor. My palate has expanded. I have added to my list of favorite foods, pate, terrine, sweetbreads, foie gras and other bodily treats. Delicious.


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