If you’ve ever watched an episode of Chopped, you have seen at least one demonstration of an ingredient being “repurposed” in cooking. Repurposing is similar to the concept of taking a lemon and making lemonade, and yet it’s more than that. When an item is repurposed in food preparation, it’s used in a whole new way. For example, taco shells in the dessert mystery basket could be spun into crumbs and used as a cookie, candy, or cake component.
I find this show to be inspirational as well as entertaining. What will the contestants prepare using their mystery ingredients? How might they combine salmon and root beer barrels into an appetizer?
As I watch the food transformations, I feel guided to apply the “repurposing” principle to life.
Everyday, we are handed a basket of unknowns. Nearly everyday, that basket contains challenges. The assignment for each of us is to accept everything that is in each day’s basket and use it as best we can.
We might first moan and groan, as some of the contestants do, when we face something difficult to incorporate. Then we get to work, as they do, using imagination, wisdom, and other resources.
On that show, the contestants have access to a pantry full of staples. To me, that pantry symbolizes our inner storehouse. We all have essential resources available to us. Among them are courage, wisdom, compassion, and love. Using these resources, we can repurpose everything. (In fact, many of the champion chefs have said that love is one of their most valuable ingredients.)
We’re not all great chefs. But we all have the ability to take the challenges we’re handed and turn them into savory and sweet life experiences.
Here’s a simple example. If we’re stuck in traffic, we can transform the seemingly “wasted minutes” into time to strengthen our muscles by doing isometric exercises. Or, we can practice deep breathing. Or visualize our dreams. Or sing. Or just be present.
What about tougher challenges? You might ask. How do we repurpose an argument, an accident, an illness, a layoff? I don’t pretend to have solutions to all of life’s challenges. Ultimately, we each need to find our own ways to deal with them.
But, I’m convinced that we can “repurpose” anything when we use imagination, courage, and love. Chopped Grand Champion, Madison Cowan, sure shows the way, with examples like his Waffle Cone Remoulade and, more powerfully, his life. Did you know that, for a time, he was homeless?