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Archive for April, 2016

Sometimes messy food is the most enjoyable; cheese and limes mingled on wooden board, one spoon to dish up all toppings, every person is the artist of their own plate. Fingers are licked, aromatic fresh-chopped herbs tossed onto food and countertop, arms reaching over arms, the pop-hiss of Mexican colas being opened interrupting the noise.

Messy food can be some of the very best, and I’m learning to relax into that. Messy life is what we’ve been given, and I’m trying to learn to relax into that as well, but I’m very bad at it.

Food is small and I can see it all on my counter and I know how it works and I have a deep and real appreciation and love for it. Life is inescapably large and I can’t see what’s going to happen and it’s unspeakably frightening. I think things are going to go a certain direction and then they don’t and I’m left drifting momentarily. A cold flood washing over my body as my head spins and I spill coffee down the front of my dress in a coffeehouse late at night. I feel lighter than air for just one moment in time as I look across the room and see the expression that must mirror mine and it’s a damning confirmation.

It’s messy; sticky warm coffee smeared across my chin and cold-hot-lighter-than-air-sinking-life jarring my heart.

I never know what to do with it, and it’s as if I’m staring at a table full of food and have forgotten how to cook.

I am missing my great Aunt Shelley right now. Missing her and wishing I could have seen her more recently. Wishing she could have met my husband, because she would have loved him. Wishing there had been more connection, more shared meals, more bread broken.

I wish I could take this life and make a little sense of it. Look at things and think to myself: Okay well this is messy and imperfect but we’ll just trim the rotten bits off and we can just throw in this and that, spice and herb, smoke things up, cure and salt and sear and taste. Make things good. Take the unsures and the new ingredients and learn with it and learn to be okay.

But I never know what to do when the milk of life sours overnight; when cast iron is heated too hot and foods burn, and breads don’t rise and flavors are discordant. When the tried and true recipe who’s outcome you can always predict goes terribly awry.

Food and life; they’re inescapably intermingled and it’s a beautiful emotional thing. It’s messy and unpredictable and sometimes just terrible, but I’m trying. I’m trying to learn, to be okay, to take the messy and know it, learn it, accept it.

To learn to find the hickory taste in the burnt edges, the baking gold in the soured dairy, the lesson in the fallen bread.

It’s disappointing and frustrating and messy and it’s life. And sometimes the messy is also the good.

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