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A Recipe for Life
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A Recipe for Life

23 April was my youngest daughter’s 16th birthday celebrations, and I was once again challenged to find suitable food to serve to hungry teenagers.  This group is quite an eclectic mix of cultures and life choices.  Out of respect for one group I could not serve anything with pork in it and another, nothing with meat. So I chose homemade vegetarian pizzas, which guaranteed that both preferences were honoured. Plus, homemade is so much more personal.  To finish the meal I decided that a Pavlova with melted chocolate fudge, cream and berries would make a delicious ending to a special celebratory meal.As I searched through my recipe books for a pavlova recipe, I looked at the well worn pages indicating the recipes that I made quite frequently; an obvious contrast to the clean neat unused pages of my books.  Some books were not used at all and yet they had adorned my shelves for years.I stopped and pondered this enigma and thought to myself, 'why do I continue to keep recipe books that I never use?'A reply came back to me 'because you think you may need them one day, and that day has not come yet.'  The voice then continued, 'Perhaps it is a sign that you are stuck in your ways.  Why do you stick to the same recipes all the time when you have a library of others to choose from?''Convenience', my thoughts replied.  'Habit' I heard myself say.  'I can't be bothered to try any of the others because it takes effort and I don't have the time or the energy.'I had considered for some time cooking my way through the contents of a recipe book to see what I would discover, much like the movie Julie and Julia.  That would give me a new look at food and at life too as I searched for ingredients and ways to prepare them. I could also choose to share the experience with friends as well. But it came to nothing.After all that thinking I felt exhausted and went back to making the Pavlova. The last time I made one was...... I don't remember when.It was messy and fun. When the ingredients had reached the stage where it needed placing on the cooking tray I sampled the sweet, sticky, white mixture. It was good enough to eat without cooking. I plastered it carefully onto the tray and then stood back with pride. Watching all those cooking programmes had been worth it, I thought to myself as I viewed my creation.Then into the oven to slow cook on a low heat until it was ready for the next stage in its newly created life as a Pavlova. Life is like a recipe book.  It is full of experiences waiting to happen.  Ideas burgeoning to come to life.  Some will be pleasing to the palate and others will leave a sour taste in the mouth. Unless we are prepared to cease resorting to the same old tried and tested dishes and broaden our taste buds, we will continue to eat the same fare day after day. 'Insanity.....doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.' - EinsteinSo I am going to take a leaf out of Julie's book and make the effort to better use these culinary bibles that I have on my shelf.  Firstly, because I love food and want to experience something new, and secondly, because it will broaden my horizons both spiritually and gastronomically.When we are feeling stuck it is because we are doing the same old things expecting different results. One of my favourite jokes is "Mummy Mummy, why am I going around in circles?"  "Shut up kid or I'll nail your other foot to the floor."  Apologies to all those out there who think this joke supports child abuse, it is just a joke and completely metaphoric. But it says heaps about being stuck and the solution is right in front of us.So, now to cook. I have a world of culinary delights on my shelf in the kitchen and the first decision is which country do I begin? You may even get an invite to dinner if you play your cards right.  I will keep you posted. Bon appetite!