My wife pointed out to me how much I seemed to enjoy handing out candy to the kids at Halloween, but that I wouldn’t admit it. I asked her to explain and she described how quickly I got up out of my seat and went to the door, and how I got down on my knees to kid level and asked each kid about the costume and why he or she chose to be that character, and when they left and I returned to my seat on the couch, I had a smile on my face.

I didn’t realize it was that obvious.

It’s difficult for the face to lie.

Anne sent me a link to the photo gallery from the October 3rd Emerging Terrain dinner held in Omaha, an event some of you only recently found out about, and wondered why I didn’t do more publicity in Lincoln. My answer is it sold out so quickly, further advertising was not necessary.

A picture is worth a thousand words and the two hundred plus photos had plenty to say, but one word seemed to ring loud and clear.


From the chefs to the servers to the participants and everyone in between, try and count how many smiles you see. Even if you did not attend, from the photos alone you can easily understand the pathos of the event.

I love this about the potential of food to unite and satisfy. But it does not cook itself. Without passionate, caring people, a memorable meal would not happen. From the simplest setting for two, to the magnitude of this outdoor event, love is the indispensible ingredient.

Any act of love carries with it a risk. You’ll know love is involved in your meal when the person who prepared it takes the risk to set it in front of you and stays close enough to see your reaction.

This vulnerability sets apart the best from the rest.

I am planning a trip to Denver next week for the purpose of eating for inspiration. I’m looking for chef-owned places from which I can glean a few ideas. If you have any suggestions for me, I welcome them.

The Secret Ingredient

One thought on “The Secret Ingredient

  • April 14, 2011 at 8:45 am

    This looks absolutely fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

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