Thursday, June 23, 2011

Self-Confidence and the Realities of Summer: Chicken Waldorf Salad

“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” Lao Tzu said that over two millennia ago, but it has only resonated with me this summer. All the same, I say this every year: this is the summer that I am changing the most significantly. It was the summer before college that I said was the most significant in my life. It was the summer after my freshmen year that I said was the most crucial to how I perceived the world. The summers after my sophomore and junior years were the most important in defining family. And what about this summer, the summer before my last semester as an undergrad, the summer that is over one-thirds over?

This is the summer I grow into myself.

I would say that this is the summer I grow up. I would also say this is the summer I become an adult, but that just isn’t true. I have had adult grievances and responsibilities and joys for a while, situational or otherwise throughout my twenty-one odd years of life. Adulthood is just a metaphor, because I don’t think adults even know what it means to be one. But for some reason, children have childhood perfected, until someone comes along and tells them they aren’t doing it right. Then these children are forced to grow into themselves prematurely or a little late in the game into skins too large or too small, because these adults thought it was best, because they believe they are the only ones who know best. Maybe they do know what’s best the majority of the time, maybe all the time, but maybe I do too.

Then again, when everything is happening at once, you have to turn to those who’ve been doing this a lot longer than you. At the same time, you desire balance and compromise. You want to appear competent, responsible, and reliable in all the things you’ve set out to do. You want to be respected as the adult you’re growing into, trusted into doing it your way.

To quote my younger self whenever Mama Dazz asked me why I was crying: “I’m upset because I am not getting my way.” Ah, the honesty of toddlerhood. If only the “adult” me was so honest and insightful.

The universe is a precise and consistent entity. Ask and you shall receive. It doesn’t always give you what you want when you want it, but it can give you what you need when you need it… if you’re observant enough to recognize it and patient enough to wait for it.

I may want to do it all my way, but I also have to trust in others when they’ve had experiences similar to mine. At the same time, a little confidence in me wouldn’t hurt either.

Chicken Waldorf Salad

32 oz Cooked skinless chicken breast meat, cut into manageable chunks
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and finely chopped
30 g (1/4 c.) Raisins
40 g (1/4 c.) Almond slivers
3 Celery stalks, diced
1 Red onion, diced
3 Garlic cloves, diced
1 tbsp. Ginger, crushed or finely chopped
2 tsp. Black sesame seeds
6 oz Lassi (or Kefir)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp. Sea salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper

If the chicken has not been cooked already, steam the meat until fully cooked, let it cool, then chop it up and put into a large mixing bowl.
Fold in the chopped apple, raisins, almond slivers, onion, garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds to the chicken until thoroughly combined.
In another bowl, blend together the lassi, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, the salt and pepper.
Pour the sauce over the dry ingredients and stir until coated.
Serve on top of lettuce.

Makes 6 – 8 servings.

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