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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hara Hachi Bu

We have interesting conversations in our family. My son, when asked what some of his favorite things to do with our immediate and extended family, rated discussions as his number one favorite. Recently, we discussed Hara hachi bu, although, in my sadly unfortunate memory, it came out as eat until you're only 20% hungry or something like that. I was pretty close.

Hara hachi bu, or “eat until you’re 80 percent full" is a Japanese phrase. This is the one of the secrets of longevity that the Okinawans (the longest lived group of people in the world.) Yes, I had to look this up. Basically, how does one do this and still feel satisfied? I think it's quite simple. Slow down. Eat slower, enjoy each bite, enjoy the company at the table and your surroundings. A good meal isn't necessarily about the food you're eating, but who you are eating it with and where. Think about it some of your really great meals. They haven't necessarily been at white covered tablecloths or lit with candles.

I can clearly remember one of my best meals was eating a scorched hot dog while getting campfire smoke in my eyes. We didn't have buns, ketchup, or any side dishes, but watching the sunset over the lake, with a cool breeze blowing, my family huddled around the fire. Well, it was just perfect.

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Taking a little time to play with words, to play with food, and just to play!