Some people enjoy fruit after dessert. I’m not one of those people. I usually have a small dessert after lunch and dinner, but fruit seems like overkill. Fruit and dessert are both generally sweet, and sweet after sweet seems like too much sweet. If the fruit is sour, it tastes too sour in contrast with the sweet dessert. I can see the rationale that fruit cleanses your palate following a rich dessert, but I think tea or coffee, both of which offer a more pleasing contrast, do the job as well or better. Now, fruit within dessert is another matter; it can create a symphony of flavours, textures, and contrasts, perhaps exemplified best by a tart apple and rhubarb crisp.
As with food, pleasing contrasts can improve everyday life if we’re mindful of them. Looking outside right now, it’s a bright, sunny Sunday morning, in contrast with the cold, gloomy, dark rainy week we’ve been having in the Metro Vancouver area. We’re just at the fog line, so the sky above is blue, and the fog has settled in among the trees and houses just below us. The fog has created a muting effect, so the sunlight on the trees is a little less bright than usual. The experience is much like opening the blinds, or like a feeling of lightness after having been weighed down for some time. Take a step back, leave your electronic devices behind, use your senses, and try to experience the interesting contrasts in the moment. Step outside, or look outside, and notice the many colours and contrasts. Look for areas of dark and light. Listen to the sounds, feel the temperature of the air, and notice what the ground feels like beneath your feet. Immerse yourself in the richness of the present moment. Linger for some time. Try this out for just a few minutes each day – when you first wake up in the morning, when you’re especially stressed out, or when you just need a break from work or from dealing with other people, or whenever you remember to do it. Give your brain a little time to just settle and experience the many contrasting facets of the present moment. Don’t look for anything in particular; just experience what’s there. But, if you’re going to eat dessert, ditch the fruit. ~ Alexander L. Chapman, Ph.D., R.Psych.