The Art of Appreciation

Appreciation: Recognition of the quality, value, significance or magnitude of people and things

Appreciating life and the people in it is one of my favorite activities.
By showing appreciation we are in fact acknowledging another, whether it be thanking someone for a job well done or better understanding an artist and what his artwork conveys. It’s why intro art classes are often titled Art Appreciation. The end product should be one who better understands art and its process while keeping, and perhaps expanding, one’s own personal aesthetic.

The world might be a better place if we taught Life Appreciation at schools.
It spans every area of life. Just by recognizing the quality of a well-prepared meal, the value of a good friend, or the significance of an action makes living on this planet a lighter activity.

One of my favorite aspects of Fancifull is I get to help others send out packages of appreciation daily. I think of them as bombs of goodness landing on desks and in homes throughout the world. People send gifts to show gratitude, congratulate, send good wishes, and generally let others know that someone is aware of them and what they are doing or going through. The package is sent and then, sitting at a desk just working the day away, this person is surprised with a gift telling them how wonderful they are. How cool is that? And I get to make it happen.

Appreciation comes into play in another sphere at Fancifull; we love to make the acquaintance of great products. Sometimes I think maybe I recognize quality a little too much – I certainly acquaint myself with a whole lot of great food. Discovering a company that turns out a terrific product and also has integrity is a highlight of my job. We talk to the people who make the chocolates, who bake the cookies, or came up with a great idea. We get to know them and how they operate. I find it exciting to learn how items are crafted, the traditions that get handed down generation after generation, and the cultures these gifts spring from.

I could go on and on. As one becomes more aware one tends to appreciate everything more. For example, when you raise your own child you better understand your own parents. As I meet more and more craftsman my world is expanded by the nuances of their creation. Whereas chocolate all tasted the same when I was a teenager, now I can taste olives in some, berries in another. I truly appreciate the hand made fresh truffles that have such an intense chocolate flavor. I notice the lack of additives and the pureness of the flavors. In another arena of life I also find myself admiring my employee who goes to school each night, bettering her life and that of her son. Going back to the definition of appreciation above, I do recognize the significance and magnitude of her and those around me.

Once you start appreciating things your world just keeps expanding. It is never ending. At least I hope not.

Terry August

Exercise: Today find something you can appreciate. It might be as simple as a person letting you in their lane while driving. It could be a friend, a parent, or your child. Find the quality in just one thing. Then if you feel like it, do it some more. Spread the appreciation around, like good compost, it will make relationships blossom. Post it as a comment here!

Fancy Food Show 2008

A portion of the third floor of the Fancy Food ShowOh My! That is usually our reaction as we enter the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in New York and view all the booths that seem to stretch out into infinity. We only have three days to visit more than 1500 exhibitors, not to mention the 60 specialty pavilions representing 81 countries.

We know we won’t make it through the whole show so we have to be focused and organized. If not, you tend to get sidetracked and then you start sampling items you don’t need to, and before you know it you are feeling a bit queasy.

But we did focus, so headed straight to the Organics and All Natural Pavilion. We had decided we were going to continue our search for great foods from responsible companies as well as looking for more authentic green products. We were also on the search for local companies. We want to support our local economy, have accessible products and cut down on petroleum used in delivery. Here are some of the highlights:

Chocolate continues to be an expanding market. We were very excited to find a few local chocolate companies that produced outstanding chocolate.

Especially interesting was one company that did a very select single origin chocolate bar that focused on particular plantations in Ecuador. It is similar to terroir in wine. One vineyard can have very different characteristics than another that is merely a few yards away. There are various regions in Ecuador where chocolate is grown. As a result the chocolate from the desert region was much different than the ones from a more tropical area. Fascinating.

But this is why we go – to taste and learn and see for ourselves what works and what doesn’t.

It was heartening to see the amount of Organic and Fair Trade being offered. There are many people stepping up trying to treat the earth and the people on it fairly. This can be found in a variety of foods we will be bringing in as well as some great containers we will have on hand this holiday season. These shows, while tiring at times, give us an opportunity to talk to vendors and get a sense of who they are and how they operate. From the woman who just started her tapenade company (absolutely delicious by the way) to the couple in North Carolina with their wonderful toffee cookies, and the Chickasaw Nation turning out fine and fun chocolates (white chocolate covered Bugle snacks) we thoroughly enjoy being the conduit by which their dreams, creativity and enthusiasm reach you.