“Mom! Did you eat those salt water taffys?” I had to admit it, I did but I was on vacation and that calls for a little deviance from the norm. My daughter was shocked, of course, as eating healthy is my mantra. Of course, that wasn’t always the case and while I shy away from sugary foods, I still have a sweet tooth. Since dentists seem to be quick when it comes to yanking out wisdom teeth, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask him to extract that darn old sweet tooth, but he shook his head, laughed and patted my hand condescendingly. He must still have his own set of wisdom teeth, for when I told him I was serious, he wisely said it’s not that easy.
Having a sweet tooth isn’t my only imperfection. The weeds are keeping pace with the tomatoes and peppers in my garden. I’m terrible in social situations, forgetting names and tripping over my tongue when meeting new people. In my twenties, my then husband’s aunt tried to teach me how to embroider. I proudly showed her my little handkerchief covered in violets, but she immediately flipped it over to find all the mistakes on the back. When it comes to cooking, I’m game to try new things but my follow through is lacking. Today I attempted to make a gluten free peach pie for my husband’s birthday. Instead of glutinous flour, the pie crust recipe called for a mix of 4 main dry ingredients: rice flour, tapioca flour, corn starch, and sorghum flour. I was out of rice and sorghum flour and, rather than a quick trip to the grocery store, I did my usual thing, substituting all purpose GF flour and an extra scoop of tapioca for good measure. The pie came out of the oven and, while it smells good, it’s a bit sorry looking. No worry, though, for Tom will give me points for trying, especially when I present him with a plate of my no fail almond butter cookies.
So I don’t come close to perfection. In fact, you might say I am perfectly imperfect and I’m okay with that. I can understand my daughter’s reaction, though, as it’s kind of hard to discover that someone you’ve looked to for guidance may not be the wisest (remember, I did lose 4 wisdom teeth after all). Even more difficult is accepting your imperfections.
A few years back, my own mom and I were discussing the menu she was trying to put together for a family get together. My mom is lovingly called “the social director”. If there’s a party, she’ll go. If not, she’ll put one together. This is a woman who, at the age of 82, not only bowls in 4 senior bowling leagues each week but is the secretary for each one. Every Tuesday morning for years she’s attended her TOPS group (although she doesn’t need to), and is re-elected every year as an officer. So it shocked me that my mom was stressed about her shindig. I’ve always thought of her as a good cook but she was comparing herself to her sister who is a bit of a gourmet cook, my cousin who totally nails every recipe, and another cousin who owns four high-end Chicago restaurants. Mom wanted to put out a spread that would rival this trio’s assembled culinary skills. Rather than compete, I told her best to make the gathering a pot-luck and let them all have at it.
When it comes to imperfections, I’ve heard of two schools of thought. One is to focus on your strengths and the second is to improve on your weaknesses. I prefer a third approach. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Polonius told his son Laertes, “To thine own self be true.” Be honest and know yourself. Accept what you’re good at, recognize your faults, and figure both into the mix that is you. In other words, be good but live a little and don’t beat yourself up about it. I walk past the candy rack every time I’m at the grocery store, but I indulge a bit on holiday. Sometimes my cooking experiments fail and sometimes they come out divine, like my no fail almond butter cookies. Once a month I take a hula hoe to the garden weeds to make it look presentable, but Tom tells me those little weeds in the garden are actually nitrogen fixers that help my veggies grow. I like to think my imperfections are like that: little Kathy-fixers that make me a little messy but, in the end, define and shape a better me: perfectly divine, healthy and whole just as I am.
Anyone care for an almond butter cookie?
No Fail Gluten Free Almond Butter Cookies
1 cup almond butter
¾ cup organic sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
Handful of slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients except almonds in a bowl. Mix in the almonds. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto the parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Cookies will be soft when they come out of the oven. Let cool for 15 minutes then transfer to plate. Allow to set for half hour. Makes about 15 cookies.