Monday, July 14, 2014

A Potluck, and Moroccan Carrot Salad

I have started and trashed countless blog post drafts during the past two and a half months.  Somehow, everything I write feels either trivial or--when it's nontrivial--overplayed.  It's been a doozy of a summer, both in the domestic and world media and in higher education news: the shootings in Santa Barbara in June, the public conversation about sexual assaults on campus, heightened violence in the Middle East, the plane crash in Ukraine, revisited discussions about mental health on campus (which I'm sure we will continue to revisit, especially now in the wake of a very public suicide, even if he wasn't a college student), the crisis in Ferguson, the spate of articles about why people shouldn't be sending their kids to Ivy League schools (which is, at its core, a question about meaning and purpose in college and in life, and whether it's possible to educate for a soul -- which, I'll add, was a question that Plato was askingin 400 B.C.).

I feel sometimes like I'm living at the end of days, and part of me wants to pontificate about it, but part of me thinks that the world doesn't need another Cassandra, or another contributor to Modern Jackass.

This blog tends to thrive on two other ingredients, besides things to talk about--new food to photograph and thoughts from my yoga teacher--and those have not exactly been in abundance, either.  Given a schedule that gets me home at 6, or even later, I've been making meals that people around here (primarily small people) will eat without complaining or spending hours sniffing at it, and may even eat in my temporary absence.  And I've been to my regular yoga studio maybe three times this summer, two of which my regular teacher wasn't there.

Some of my blogger friends are putting old blogs to rest and starting new ones, or taking a step back from their blogs altogether to do new things (here's looking at you, Coach Kathy), or taking a step back because life has gotten complicated, or just doing new things (well, Mel is always doing new things). 

Part of me thinks I should shred this thing and start over.  The formula is great, but also incredibly limiting and time consuming to get right.

Part of me thinks I should face the fact that I'm not making enough time for this space, formula or not.

But my blog is also sort of like an old friend that I'm not ready to give up on yet.

In the past few weeks we've been inviting over some old friends and new friends, connecting the third side of mostly-formed friendship triangles, celebrating the end of summer by seeing some of the people we've meant to see all along.  Type A that I am, this entails much too anxious preparation of too much food, even though people always bring their own contributions to the feast (I did actually make a few new things that I didn't photograph because I was too busy making and serving them), Tetris-like configuration of the refrigerator, and eating leftovers for days on end.  But every time I'm sitting with our company at the end of the evening, listening to the crickets or admiring children chalking pictures on the walkway or watching the light fade from the sky, I marvel to myself how perfect it was, how I didn't need to make it difficult at all, because the company itself was more than enough.

My yoga teacher did say one thing I've been mulling over this summer, during the class I was able to get to: she said that the more advanced a student became in yoga, the more simple the yoga itself.  We begin with elaborate asana, but as we become more proficient yogis and yoginis, we don't need all of that.  The breathing is enough.  The practice of mindfulness is enough.

It seems counterintuitive, but if you think about it, that makes sense: as you grow in understanding of almost anything, you appreciate the complexity and beauty and elegance of the simplest problems.


Consider yourself invited to the end-of-summer potluck at A Half Baked Life.  If you're still reading, drop in for a bit.  Tell us what you're bringing.  Be anonymous, if that's easier.  We'll reconnect one old friend to some other old and new friends, and see what happens.  For the time being, I'll shred carrots (which are still in season at our CSA) instead of a blog.

Moroccan Carrot Salad
Adapted from herbivoracious
This is not a particularly fancy salad, but you'll appreciate the complexity of flavors.  Serve with some toasted pita and hummus, or babaghanouj if you like.

1 lb. carrots(peeled if you think you should)
1 T. olive oil
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground paprika
2 t. agave nectar or honey
2 - 3 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. sea salt
1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Coarsely shred the carrots in a food processor or julienne them, if you're feeling ambitious. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over a low flame; add spices and stir occasionally until the mixture darkens and turns fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Pour the spiced oil over the carrots in a large bowl or container. Add the agave nectar, lemon juice, and sea salt and toss gently until the carrots are evenly coated.  Just before serving, gently stir in the parsley.
Pin It

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to try to comment - part of the reason it looks like I fell off the face of the earth is that I am having an issue making it difficult to comment and almost impossible from my iPhone.

    Anyway, yeah. This post resonated. I too have tons of drafts not worth posting, feeling like Cassandra etc. And work has been crazy too. But I love your words and would miss them. Hopefully we all can find our way back after summer.

    I'll bring either a corn-cucumber cous cous salad or BBQ bean salad (nice and spicy)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...