Grandmother doing a peace sign with her hand
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
March 10, 2024 ·  3 min read

Grandmother shares a piece of wisdom using a carrot, eggs and coffee

Fables and fairy tales have been told for thousands of years. Although these stories are typically pretty similar, most cultures have their own versions. At the end of these stories, the audience is left with some sort of lesson, wisdom, or moral. Some years ago a story began circulating the internet that provides a timeless piece of wisdom, where it started we’re not exactly sure. It tells the story of a young woman, whose life is in shambles that visits her grandmother. Her grandmother, always full of knowledge and wisdom, presents her with carrots, eggs, and coffee. The question is what do these ingredients have in common? While it is unknown if this story is a complete work of fiction, it certainly sends a thought-provoking message. 

A Relatable Challenge. 

We’ve all encountered challenges in life, many leaving us in a state of grief. Many of us have had moments in which we experience the desire to give up. Yet, each day we find the strength, courage, and wisdom to move forward. In this powerful story, a young woman struggling with her life decides one day to pay her grandmother a visit. Her grandmother has always been full of knowledge and the young woman is confident in her wisdom. She begins to tell her grandmother of her daily hardships, expressing a sense of hopelessness, always waiting for things to go wrong. The young woman then goes on to explain that even the idea of getting out of bed feels daunting. Her granddaughter fears she can’t continue, in this way. 

Without a word, the grandmother leaves to the kitchen and turns on the stove.  The granddaughter hears some noise in the kitchen and sees her grandmother emerge several minutes later. When the wise old grandmother returns, she lays before her granddaughter, a pot. The pot contains the three ingredients, each in a different state than their original. The granddaughter, still feeling hopeless, is now also feeling perplexed. 

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Wisdom in the Kitchen?

The wise old woman goes to the kitchen and puts on three pots of boiling water. She puts carrots into one pot. The eggs go into another pot. Meanwhile, the third pot is used for coffee. After about 20 minutes, she drains each pot and returns to her granddaughter with a bowl containing the three ingredients. The granddaughter sits in silence for a moment, still uncertain of what her grandmother is trying to tell her. 

What do the Ingredients Have to do with One Another?

Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”  “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  The granddaughter felt the carrots and noticed they had become soft in the boiling water. Next, the grandmother told her to break an egg. The young woman picked up the egg and tried to crack it. When she did so, only the skin peeled off. The inside had become tough and solid. She was then asked to sip the coffee. She smiled as she noted the rich and aromatic notes of the delicious coffee. Although she felt soothed by the coffee, she still didn’t understand the correlation. She asked her grandmother how this could be related to her own life. With light gleaming from her eyes, the grandmother explained a piece of wisdom that often helped her overcome her own struggles. “Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity — boiling water — but each reacted differently.

What’s the Takeaway?

Life’s many challenges leave us feeling hopeless and alone. We are constantly enduring struggles and learning to navigate the world around us. We are on a daily and never-ending journey of learning and self-discovery. Listening to advice from our elders is one tried and true method for learning to cope with, and overcome these hardships. The wisdom they provide is often a beacon of hope. This grandmother’s wisdom is something we all can use and is intended to give us a new perspective. “People are so touched by this old-fashioned wisdom that it’s been shared on Facebook nearly 300,000 times!

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