There is an old adage that I’m sure is well known by all – "one can’t judge a book by its cover." There is a lot of wisdom in that adage as we all have known beauty hidden underneath an unremarkable package at one time or another. That was reiterated to me at work yesterday when a friend and coworker brought me something that she had made at home with the help of her husband. She handed me a package in the middle of the hall between the operating rooms, and said, "don’t worry, it’s clean and uncontaminated." The outside of the package was a blue OR hairnet worn by many to keep hair from entering the field of operation and potentially wreaking havoc on an unsuspecting patient. This is similar to hairnets many in the food service industry wear to keep hair out of food that they are preparing. This thin, blue veil was wrapped securely covering a long thin, aluminum foil wrapped package. I remembered how she had told me the previous day that she had made something that she wanted to bring in for me to taste. I thanked her, smiled and brought it to the lounge, where I gently unwrapped the unassuming package to discover a lovely slice of apple-pear galette. While the slice was not unappealing, it had been a little beaten up in its transport. Nevertheless, I found a fork and put a piece into my mouth – it was marvelous! The flavors of the apples and pears blended in beautiful harmony, along with the simply perfect, flaky, bursting with butter crust. I smiled again, greedily finished the rest of the slice and smiled some more, this time with a big, satisfied grin.
I happen to think that a beautiful presentation enhances food and elevates a good dish into a better one. Sometimes, it may even take a bad dish and make it acceptable. It can also take something delicious and make it into something truly special, a work of art. However, something that is truly delicious and made with care and skill does not depend on its appearance to still be delicious and does not always need to be a work of art. Sometimes wonderful surprises come from unassuming or even ugly packages. Those very surprises, unexpected as they are, are some of the things that make life most interesting and enjoyable.