Call it luck or call it serendipity. I'm feeling very special today. It's not because of any one thing, in fact it's because of many small things that seem to be falling into place. Alex and I are feeling quite charmed and I mean to savor the emotion for as long as it lasts. We saved a bit of money and that allows us that magical element of flexibility. In this case that means that we have time to explore our options and figure out which leaps of faith will suit us the best. We're not out on the street or wondering how to pay for food or for rent. We're doing a bit of free lance work, enough to know that we truly enjoy it and feel blessed to have opportunities coming our way. We're also considering some job options because while we're not strapped for cash it is dwindling. We're also not convinced that we have enough money yet to open our own place. A few short term opportunities have presented themselves and we are considering them carefully. Because we can and because they can teach us a lot and remind us what it's like to be in a busy kitchen with staff and diners and all of the things we've missed most this last few years. No decisions or commitments have been made and there is lots of temptation to see what can be done in the short term. We know that not everyone has the options that we have and so we are thankful each day that we can do what we love and share it with like-minded individuals across the globe.
During the cruise we went to a series of lectures by Solutions in Mind. Although we missed the last talk in the series due to our own commitments, we enjoyed Steven's discussions about how the way that you phrase your ideas can actually influence their outcome. One of his suggestions was to stop using the word "but", one of my personal shortcomings, and substitute the word "and" and see what happens. "But" is definitely a negative and his point was that it cancels out whatever came before it in your train of thought while the word "and" links the two ideas together. I rather liked that image of linking ideas. It is after all, the basic precept on which most partnerships are based.
In cooking, I've often found that too much is simply too much. The idea of using the word "and " while creating recipes can seem overwhelming or just plain silly to someone who appreciates simplicity in dining. Although when you think about it, even the most basic recipes probably have more ingredients than you realize. For example, cacio e pepe, pasta with butter and cheese, involves the pasta itself, butter, water, salt, pepper, and freshly grated cheese. That's six ingredients for a seemingly uncomplicated dish. Often people are overwhelmed when viewing the ingredient list in recipes and to avoid the appearance of difficulty, many writers leave basic ingredients like salt, pepper and water off of the list. They are still integral components of the finished composition but are deemed so obvious and basic that they need no mention at all.
We have always focused on the appearance of simplicity in our dishes. Although readers know of the layers of technique that may go into building a dish, to look at a photograph or a plate in a restaurant our dishes are meant to seem simple and approachable. The beauty of this site is that people who are interested in the background work can find details but those who are not can skip to the ideas that interest them the most. Everything we create has to taste good and then we build upwards from there. In our basic thought progression the idea of "and" is actually how we develop each dish. Can we add this flavor and this richness and this texture and this acid? We add as many elements as we think we need to in order to balance a dish and then we whittle them down to their hearts. Admittedly we can be ruthless editors when it comes to the finished process. The creative spiral always begins with the word "and". And each addition adds something essential to each progression throughout our day, whether it lingers in the finished product or simply leads to the progression of something else that remains.
*In editing this post I removed three separate "buts" and this with a conscious effort to leave them out...