High literature for the avid foodie, self discoverer

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First Posted: 3/26/2015

Theodor Geisel’s lyrical poetry has been delighting readers for generations. “Green Eggs and Ham” is a particular favorite. In the story, Geisel creates the adventurous spirit of Sam, who truly loves green eggs and ham and wants to convince a non-believer of its deliciousness. His unnamed compatriot is not convinced, leading the two men on a spiritual journey of discovery.

Sam is a true lover of food. He will go to any means to convince his friend to taste green eggs and ham. The other man is so adamantly against challenging his palate that he convinces himself that it is Sam that he dislikes. Sam, however, is patient – perhaps to the point of being obstinate himself – and offers his friend multiple opportunities to try the food.

Sam theorizes that if his friend could only change his setting that maybe he would decide to try green eggs and ham. His attempts to proselytize are rebuffed over and over as he offers the food in a house, a box, a car and a train. Theorizing that fresh air might do the trick, the men climb a tree and take in sea air on a boat, but still the friend is disgusted by green eggs and ham.

Sam’s journey to free his friend from his own comfort zone reflects the need in all of us to break out of our self-created boxes. We all need to explore the world. We all need to try things that scare us whether it’s a strange type of food or a frightening experience. We need to take that thing that terrifies or disgusts us and give it a chance.

This might mean taking a physical journey such as Sam and his friend do. It’s easy to hide in your own home with your own group of friends where you have built up walls of comfort. To truly experience something new, you need to get out. You might need new friends: a mouse, a fox or a goat are the options offered by Sam. Or a new location could make you feel brave. Or maybe we just all need a companion like Sam to wear us down and push us to our limits.

“Green Eggs and Ham” is a life changing book of discovery. There is beauty in letting go of our preconceptions and prejudices, to not judge something by appearance and to experience all the world has to offer despite our initial misgivings. Once you give into new adventure, remember to thank the people who supported you and helped you break out of your box.

Spoiler alert! “Green Eggs and Ham” ends beautifully: “I do so like green eggs and ham! Thank you! Thank you, Sam-I-Am.” The unnamed protagonist not only tried — and liked — green eggs and ham but he has also come to realize what a good friend Sam is.

While the book does not contain an epilogue, it is easy for the reader to envision the two men having new adventures for the rest of their lives. Perhaps Sam will always need to push his friend but the walls have been broken and both men are the better for their journey.