Monday, July 25, 2011

On Being Vulnerable and Kitchen Failures

I generally think too much. Mostly, I think of what it takes to live a happy, full life. Specifically, I think about what I'm not doing correctly in that respect. Today though, I realized that I do a lot of things right, even when I think I'm doing it all wrong. One thing that I think I do particularly well is being vulnerable and embracing the inevitable pain that comes with seeking sweet and wonderful experiences. In the kitchen, this translates to enjoying experimenting even when experiments go bad. For instance, this evening, I tried to make a mock carbonara with soba noodles and spinach. And no cheese. With a soupcon of too much garlic. It didn't turn out well. Then I realized that I handle a lot of things in the same way. Romantic disappointments seem to pile up around me like unread magazines, and yet I still keep trying. (Despite vowing that every time is the last time). Calmness in the face of a very sick pet, not trying to make things certain and refusing to deny pain and discomfort are things that make me stubborn, elusive and messy. But they are also the things that make me beautiful. (And next time I'll taste as I go and make it with quinoa noodles).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

TED Talk I love: Thandie Newton on "Otherness"

I think it's time for a non-food related post. I adore TED talks. They are informative, inspiring and usually prompt me to think of things in an entirely new way. Helen Fisher and Brene Brown gave two of my favorites, and I watched/listened to the one below by Thandie Newton earlier today. I'm posting it here because Ms. Newton puts to words what I so often felt as the only racially mixed person growing up in a very white place, one of the few progressives in a sea of conservative Catholics in college and someone from modest roots in a place of great privilege during law school. Like Newton, I lost my "self" in dancing in performing while growing up and found that my "otherness" gave me a great deal of empathy for other misfits. Like Newton, I suffered from disordered eating and struggled with wanting to disappear as the "other" that stuck out like a sore thumb. I now prize the fact that I don't belong in any one group because it leaves me free to surround myself with people who feel right rather than people with the same skin tone (which is biologically meaningless). I could go on about how much this talk spoke to me, but instead, I'll let Newton say it all much more eloquently.