Monday, September 7, 2009

Not Eighteen

Beets have never been something that intrigued me. They always looked mushy & canned-- suspiciously like that jellied cranberry "sauce" Chris likes at Thanksgiving with the concentric aluminum circles still imprinted on it's giggly flesh. Beets are the kind of thing that old people eat, along with prune juice and mueslix.

At a cooking
class I attended earlier this summer, I politely decided to give beets a try. I figured we went through all the trouble of learning how to make them, I might as well. However, the whole Beet part of the meal was overshadowed by the Israeli couscous, with which I became obsessed, and I soon forgot all about beets. But tonight, for some reason, they popped back into my little brain, and I couldn't get them out, so I gave 'em another go... and let me tell you, they are really sensational little veggies-- subtly sweet, beautifully purple. I can say now that I am a big fan.

Along with my random beet craving this week, I've also had a strange urge to try eggs Benedict.
Things like this happen pretty often in our home, and Chris is sweet enough to indulge me. I remember tasting hollandaise sauce as a little girl and being completely disgusted by it, but I recently looked into the recipe, and thought to myself, "What's not to like?" I am a little less convinced about the poached egg, but something tells me that my feelings might have changed on that too. And that little something has more to do with the renegade gray hairs that pop up every now and then, or the dark circles I've been noticing under my eyes than finding the perfect recipe.

My mom used to always make us soft boiled eggs mixed with buttery little cubes of toast for breakfast. It wasn't really my fave. She confessed that she used to complain about her mother making her the very same breakfast every day of her childhood. It seems, though, that somewhere in the conversion from a little kid into the mother I knew her to be, she had begun enjoying soft boiled eggs (unless, of course, she enjoyed torturing us kids, like some sort of Freshman h
azing process). I remember she used to tell me that I might even end up liking vegetables one day, "when I got older". Well getting older, to me, didn't seem like a very sane or reasonable thing to do, if it meant I would lose my mind and end up willingly eating spinach.

But now, here I am, staining my fingers purple over some roasted beets, making myself soft boiled eggs for breakfast, and even flirting with the idea of trying my hand at hollandaise sauce-- for poached eggs. What has become of me?

It wasn't that long ago that students I met on campus would ask me what my major was-- in fact, that happened frequently even last year. The first week of school this Fall, I met some darling little Freshmen who had just come to San Francisco from my own home town. When they asked where I went to high school & when I graduated, I laughed as I gave my answer. "Oh," they replied, "I was just thinking that my mom's friend went to that high school & I was wondering if you would have known her." Your mom?? Ouch.

It's funny spending my days with 18 year olds-- it's not the typical "work crowd" for most 30-somethings. Recently, I have been realizing how much older I feel around them-- even how tired I am coming home some days. Crossing a generational gap is more work than it seems.

But the funny thing is that I don't really mind. It doesn't bother me that I'm not 18 any more-- in fact, I like myself and my life a whole lot better now than when I was 18. It feels good to be comfortable in my own skin, to not always be so concerned with what other people think of me, to know myself, and to know that I don't know everything.

Personally, I think our culture is way too obsessed with youth. Is growing older really such a
tragedy? I think of other cultures where age is prized, and associated with wisdom, depth & experience. Here, we pay thousands of dollars to perpetually look 25. But I suppose in the end, I would rather have a few wrinkles paired with contentment & self awareness. That's not to say that I am looking forward to gravity taking over, and watching my face & body sag-- but if it means that I get to enjoy things like roasted beets & eggs benedict, I guess that's not so bad afterall.


sharon said...

It's a beautiful thing to be comfortable in your own skin! Great blog!

Anonymous said...

O.K., I admit I gave you the soft boiled eggs as torture -- myself that is. Do you know how hard it was to make those for 7 people??? And what did I hear? "There's a piece of shell here so I can't eat it!" Seriously, I glad to hear you like the eggs & Nonis is smiling down from heaven regarding the beets! Next thing you know, you'll discover fish.

Anonymous said...

I loved how you would hide your vegies at the bottom of your glass of milk, or pushed under your napkin, under the edge of the plate or even stuck on my plate.It's good to know that you are showing diversity in eating...but beets or lima beans won't cross my lips no matter how old I get.