Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Aha! Moments & Recipes by the Book

I don’t know where my mind has been, but I have my theories. Rumor has it she has left the confines of my skull in pursuit of better things, such as running off with a Latin Love God, working at a local café, and making it as an actress in b-rated horror flicks. Without her, I’ve made rookie mistakes, mathematical mistakes concerning recipe calculations or forgetting to acknowledge where acknowledgement is due (Like Erin of The Sensitive Epicure for example, the lovely hostess of this month’s Gluten Free Rally for pâté a choux). I know my two wrongs don’t make a right, but I’ve fixed where I could without my mind in her proper place.

That’s the beauty of being alive, though. We don’t always have a “do over” button or a way of making our mistakes magically disappear like the backspace button on our keyboard when we misspell a word. We do, however, have the ability to correct our errors in the present, as well as the difficult choice in deciding whether to fix them or leave them be. Even if my mind has wandered off to goodness knows where, probably Scandinavia of all places, I turned the wrongs into rights.

But it doesn’t stop there.

It was well past midnight when I found myself unable to settle down. In the darkness I stared out into the dark terrain of my bedroom, filled to the brim with boxes. There were mountains of clean and dirty laundry, boxes of memories that weren’t even mine, even going so far as things yet to unpacked from my semester abroad in Sweden. Within a year, to which I am including my anticipated move to the house I’m renting with friends this August, I’ll have packed and unpacked my life nine times. You heard me right, people. Nine. Times. No wonder my mind ran off without me.

It was time to unpack. It was time to declutter. It was time to get my mind back.

There was a severe imbalance towards my path of Being. I pretty much had the health thing down. I was physically aware with what my body was telling me, at least where eating and exercising was concerned. I started to find things I enjoyed doing to keep my mind focused and busy. But still, something was missing. Something wasn’t right.

There was too much clutter physically manifesting itself in my space, that peaceful haven from the boisterous world that awaited me outside. Where there should have been feng shui, there was congestion, and it was affecting me on a spiritual and emotional level. Where there should have been stillness and quiet, there was chatter filled with incessant rambling concerning life paths I didn’t want to take. With all that clutter I had lost a sense of stability and Self that I felt only other people ultimately knew what was best for me.

 Funny. That all seems to change when you start to throw things away, when you finally unpack last year’s adventure. It turns out your mind was there the entire time, but its voice is significantly louder than it used to be, certainly louder than the fading prattle that used to torment you before.

On a completely different tangent, this could explain why I don’t do recipes by the book. I prefer to treat them like guidelines, friendly suggestions more than anything, and tend to add what I think it’s lacking or omit what I think it doesn’t need. Sure, I’ll keep to the same or similar preparations and I’ll give credit to the origins of the recipe, but cooking is an evolutionary process. What works for others may not work for me and vice versa, so adapting to your needs is not only essential but also a great way to experiment with an already delicious concept.

Except for modifying one thing (okay… maybe two, to make it gluten and refined sugar free), I made a recipe exactly as it was written, and I learned a lot from doing so. I learned that it’s okay to do a recipe differently where you see fit, and that doing something just as it was written or said or done may or may not work for you. I learned that having guidelines made by other people are nice to have when you are looking for perspective or a starting point, but not so much to live by right down to the letter.

You’ve made it this far, right? Go on. Give yourself some credit and listen to yourself for a change. You deserve it.

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