I attended a celebration of life for a lady last week. I’ve always thought such an event is fitting so close to Easter, when rebirth and resurrection are foremost in our minds. After the service, over thick Nanaimo bars and homemade cookies, a couple of us were discussing that it is too bad we don’t learn all the interesting things about people until they are gone.
We had learned that Louise was not only a very good baker but she was also an adventurous baker, often trying out her own recipes or altering old tried and true ones. Often her failures would be plunked on the counter and the family would eat it out of the pan and she would try again.
“Why don’t you just stick to the recipes?” she was asked. Well, there is no adventure in always doing that, is there?
As youngsters we are given the Recipe for Life. We are told that if we follow each step in order and add the proper ingredients in the described portions at the right time we will be a success. We all know half-baked people who never paid attention to those instructions, but for the most part most of followed pretty close to the family recipe.
But a lot of us will admit that some of the most adventurous and memorable times of our lives were when we decided to put that book away and make it up as we went along. We tried something new, we took a different path. We took a chance.
One of my favorite posters says: “A good friend will bail you out of jail but your best friend will be sitting in the cell beside you saying, ‘Wasn’t that the best night ever?’”
Now I’m not saying we should do something illegal, but when we have always followed the recipe, even a minor deviation can be bold or risqué, and oh so exciting.
We went on a tour to Hawaii long ago. We were given an itinerary for the week and for the first two days we travelled with 60 people, we toured sights with 60 people and we ate with 60 people.
On the third day we slept in on purpose, left the itinerary on the dresser and rented a VW Bug convertible. With no map we took off on our own tour. We met locals and bought souvenirs at half the price, stopped when we wanted and had a picnic lunch on an isolated beach all to ourselves.
We didn’t get back until after dark and we felt like rebels. We were sunburned and tired but we enjoyed the jealous looks of our travelling companions as we shared the spontaneity of our day. That was many years ago, but that one day is the only thing I remember of that week.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I should have referred to my recipe book a little more often, and I’ve had my share of failed experiments, but I pity the folks that arrive at the end of the line and heave a deep sigh because they never varied from their ingredients.
Maybe just for one day, make it up, add some new spices to your life, blend them into your day, turn up the heat a bit and see what happens. You can always clean out the pan and start over again tomorrow. At least that’s what McGregor says.