I have been missing being able to cook. I love cooking; cooking and baking both. Soon, very soon, I will be in a place that has an actual kitchen. One in which I can cook! Damn I can’t wait!
And on that note, various kinds of foods I love to make have been running through my head. At the same time, I’ve been wandering through thoughts about …. You know….. the meaning of life and other such related business.
Lo and behold the combination of food and pondering collided into one idea that made perfect sense to me.
I may actually relate the most to the Disney Princess Fiona.
Though not entirely. I’m not fully like an ogre onion.
It’s true I have layers, but my layers are open. I don’t hide much of anything. Oh, I have the onion layers; I’ve just spent a lot of time, money, therapy sessions, and effort on peeling them back. So, in my thoughtful meanderings, I have decided that I am, in fact, more like French Onion Soup.
With a deep, rich, from-scratch beef stock made with caramelized onions, garlic, white wine, cognac, and fresh butter, French Onion Soup, one of the blissful delights of the soup world, has all the characteristics that make me.
The top of a good French onion soup is made of toasted Gruyere cheese. Gruyere is a hard, complex, swiss style cheese with the intense flavor that comes from a lengthy cure. It lends this flavor to the rest of the soup in a subtle but striking way. It is the perfect covering for this distinctive soup and the perfect metaphor for my life. Irony wins and I am now allergic to cheese, (milk products of all types actually), and so, it is that my life would be covered with a blanket of complexities, often described as hard, bitter and intense, which has flavored the rest of my life. In the end being something I have to let go in order to enjoy the rest of my life.
Underneath the layer of cheese floats a layer of croutons. Delicious French bread slices lightly coated with olive oil and oven toasted. The croutons give you something to bite into, something to anchor the savory broth to and adds a nice texture. Like the croutons, I have developed an ability to soak up what happens and create something even better. I like to think I find the positive lessons in whatever challenges may come my way.
And then we move to the delicious, aromatic onion soup. A truly authentic classic, French Onion soup starts with a slowly simmered from-scratch beef stock base. Then the onions and garlic are caramelized. The stock is introduced and the white wine comes in before a slight reduction. The cognac and butter go in last and another simmer creates perfection.
My open layers have simmered in all of the goodness life has brought me. My children are my stock, the very base of who I am and why I breathe. The flavors of my life have been melded and reduced and enhanced and given me a rich, earthy feel. I feel most connected when I am experiencing. That’s what the simmering is, it’s experiencing. Each of those components are fully experiencing the truth of being in the same pot. I feel that I experience life.
I grab hold of it and give it my all. I expect nothing back and am grateful for the many pleasures I am given. Sure I have my toasted, crunchy encrusting of life “cheese”, but really it just flavors the rest of my experiences for the better.
Ogre onions, Princess Fiona….. never quite understanding where I fit in, questioning who, if anyone, I’m meant to be with, but sure of who I am when I think about the things that matter most to me.
I still keep getting lost as I let myself wonder about the things that shouldn’t matter as much. Fiona and I seem to click. I’m just the open-layered, more experienced, more human version.