Did you eat the cappeletti?

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to experience some really beautiful meals with some really beautiful company. These experiences have been as vast and varied as enjoying a backyard barbecue with neighbors to sharing a special date night out with a man I don’t dine alone with nearly enough.


However, this past weekend I was blessed with an eating encounter that was, is, and will always be especially endeared. I shared a meal with a dear friend at the local Kansas City restaurant, Bluestem.  We savored two hours worth of two life’s stories, six life’s loves, twenty life’s laughs, five courses, five wine pairings, and henceforth one Uber ride home.

It was one of those evenings you know you’ll treasure for a long time, and truly, the meal itself was extraordinary. I was casually relating the weekend’s events to a client who asked about what I had ordered to eat…..

“Let’s see… the pea soup, the cappeletti with rabbit, the scallop (yes, that’s scallop singular), the lamb, and the carrot cake.”


She followed up with the question,

“Did you eat the cappeletti?”

or those of you who may be unfamiliar, cappeletti is nothing more than a type of pasta. It is similar to tortellini, but the ends are curled slightly different into “little hats”, which is the literal translation of the word.

My retort was, “yes, I ate both bites of the cappeletti”, a slightly sarcastic, but truly precise indication of this particular course.

My client and I both chuckled as she had shared a similar experience with that particular menu item weeks ago. I went on to subject her to 10 more kettlebell goblet squats because she was there to work out afterall, but then took pause later at the deeper meaning behind the question she had asked.

“Did you eat the cappeletti?”

There was a genuine inquiry of character behind this seemingly benign question. There was surprise in her voice marveling at how someone of my seemingly steadfast discipline and nutritional knowledge would stoop to a mere mortal’s transgression. I mean afterall, what is cappeletti but a refined glutenous starch that should be repellant to anyone so nutritionally virtuous?

Except that maybe I’m not nutritionally virtuous. Actually, let me rephrase. I’m definitely not nutritionally virtuous. I lead a healthy life with the emphasis on life. And let me assure you that anytime you start aspiring to any nutritional virtuosity you will have none of the sort. Life that is.

So though I’ve made similar posts in the past, I feel as though I must make an apology for ever coming across as the patron saint of clean eating. It is true that I typically make nutritionally sound choices. I make these choices because I want to feel my best so I can optimize my life. I want to get more out of my life, not less.

But that’s exactly what happens when you start putting black and white labels on the colorful experience of food. You allow it to have some kind of power that it would otherwise never possess on its own, and that power begins to chip away at your own. You start living less of a life, not more.

The odds are in favor of me living not just a longer life, but a better life longer. At least that’s what I’m going for. Better to me means that my grandkinds won’t ever hear me complain of how bad my body hurts or how I hate those batwings under my arms. Better instead means that I’m down on the floor playing with them, maybe even practicing my splits and cartwheels with them. I mean who wants to be 120 years old for the sake of living a crippled, debilitated life for that extended amount of time?

But then again, I could die in a car crash tomorrow. And if you’ve ever ridden with me as a passenger, you know that actually the odds are really probably less of a gamble here. So considering this, I want to make sure that when these truly God-touched moments with a friend are shared over a meal, I am savoring them…..and the cappelletti.





Erin Henry