Monday, February 18, 2013

Lessons From the Kitchen, Part 2

Lately I've been conscious of not wanting to waste food. I've been playing games in the kitchen to find creative ways to use leftovers or incorporate those tiny bits of ingredients into other recipes rather than throw them out. I didn't stop there, however. I've been researching about the parts of food we DO throw away, such as peels, rinds and seeds.

When most people eat oranges, they eat the flesh and throw away the seeds and skin. This is due to the obvious fact that orange peel is bitter, especially the white part, and too many of us had parents who told us that if we ate the seeds, an orange tree would begin to grow in our stomach! The fun part of being a mad scientist in the kitchen, however, lies in dispelling myths, experimenting, and creating huge messes! As it turns out, if you caramelise or grill the oranges until the peel becomes soft, it loses its bitterness. If you then finely chop the orange (including the peel) and add it to whatever dish you're preparing, you will have the most delightfully, refreshing orange flavour ever!

If an orange can become even sweeter after its "trial by fire", why can't we? I know of a few people who have gone through some tremendous challenges which have softened them and developed a rare gentleness and compassion. Others come through difficulties quite hard and embittered. I do not wish to make light of the suffering and grief through which some people must journey, but this orange has me thinking...

The people who seem to come through their fiery trials sweeter are the people who seem to surrender to the presence of those trials. Like them? No! Try to change them? Sure. But in the meantime, they seem to acknowledge that the trial is there, and then choose to work with the trial rather than fight against it (have you ever seen an orange jump off of the grill?). These people, like the orange peel, are filled with double the life-giving nutrients.

There are a several things in my life I'd like to discard because they are "bitter" or sour, or because I've held on to silly myths and judgements of my childhood. Maybe it's time to take those things and grill them instead, embrace the fiery heat, and hope for a softness and sweetness to emerge.


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