This past weekend I was able to spend time with my mother (Happy Birthday, Mom!) and one of my dear friends, Stefani. Stef and I talked about old memories, present times, and future hopes, like we often do when we finally catch up. One thing I told her during our chat has been with me since we spoke: I’m tired of all those people and blogs that are seemingly perfect. You know the type? The ones who promise their recipes will never go wrong, their pictures showcase nary a burnt crust or a caved-in cake, and the china is never chipped or worn with age.
As a human being, and an infinitely fallible one at that, I know there is no such thing as fail proof. I’ve watched the oven helplessly as my sourdough round just sat there, like a lump and not the proofed and loved object it had been for the past several hours of my life. Ursula K. LeGuin, the sassy, uber writer, knew better too when she said, “Love does not just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.”
In my case, I feel like I may have failed love and the person who has occupied my heart and mind for the past six years of my life. It’s hard not to think of Dave when I write this blog. He was the inspiration for the first essay I wrote for Sauce Magazine, when I decided to quit worrying about being perfect and just put my writing out there to see what happened. From that essay I decided to create an online journal that would chronicle my mishaps and victories in the kitchen and my life.
When I review what I’ve written this past year, I see that Dave inhabits most of my entries, often quietly, patiently on the margins, kindly eating what I’ve offered him, never complaining bitterly like I might when the results are botched or dry.
It pains me to acknowledge that my life, like some of the recipes I’ve tried, isn’t working out the way I envisioned. That I won’t marry my best friend in October. That by the end of this month I’ll move into a one-bedroom apartment on the edge of the Missouri Botanical Garden with two cats and lot of remorseful Etta James and John Lee Hooker on the playlist (and a fair amount of insipid pop music that Dave never really liked, but I often turned up at top volume on the car stereo).
So, dear readers, I share all of this heartache with a small glowing hope for all of us: That we’re more honest about what we’re struggling with to our family and friends so they can help us get through and appreciate the imperfections we’re bound to experience. That we embrace our imperfections and tease the folds out of these experiences so we emerge, as Dag Hammarskjold once said of his hopes for growing older, “firmer, simpler, quieter, warmer.” Yes, this growth is what I hope for now more than anything.
here for the recipe.