If there's one thing I've learned working around cookbooks, it's that the best recipes are the product of a lot of experimentation. I'm not so good with food, but I really like learning about people, having adventures, laughing... and protocols. Here are some recipes I made.
Category: Life Jams
Recipe for Healthy Stewing Over A Loss
So you wanted something (potential job/ date/ roster slot) and you didn't get it and you are actually doing a pretty good job of not taking it personally. Because no one gets that thing... except the person that just got it. Plunk. Time to mentally avalanche into a dark vortex of WTF-ery. What did you do wrong? Why were you not good enough? But seriously what makes her so special?
Girl, hold the phone. You're already bummed -- don't go giving yourself a bruising on top of it.
Yield: 3 servings comfort
1 previous experience
1 lb gentleness
½ cup honesty
½ cup accountability
2 tbsp validation (self)
1 tbsp positivity *
1 tsp sass
*Avoid substituting with optimism ("We're getting off this lifeboat tomorrow!"), as positivity ("I don't know when we're getting off this lifeboat, but we will eventually.") produces stronger results.
Peel and dice fail. Pick out ways in which you definitively screwed up, such as not showing up, being rude, or illegal/antisocial behavior (i.e. finger knitting). These bits will be useful when they're less raw -- bag and set aside for future consumption.
Place the remaining interpretation of the fail in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add honesty and cook until fail is transparent. You've slipped into an alternate reality where this whole mess boils down to something you did wrong... and if you could just figure out how you could have been better, everything would be better. Oof. This solutionless puzzle is a dead-end, a red herring obscuring the actual matter at hand: your own disappointment.
Add accountability. Why do we torture ourselves rather than just be let down? Sigh. Because as that sad-voiced man put it, dreams come slow and they go so fast. If we accept our disappointment then it's just over and if we're not ready to let it go, we will it alive by questioning the outcome. But it is over. Over over. Drop. The. Puzzle.
Add validation, gentleness, and previous experience. Increase heat and cover. You didn't get what you want. You feel disappointed because it's disappointing. And now you're anxious because you used to think about this thing and now it's gone. That shit is disorienting.
If pressure builds to instantly replace missing desire, crack lid and add more gentleness as necessary. Give yourself some space to not know exactly what's next. You're okay -- you've been through this before. You handled it then, you'll handle it now.
Uncover and allow steam to let off. Increase heat to high and add a little sass for good measure. But seriously, pity the fool(s) who passed you over; it must be hard to be that cool.
To Serve: Best served fresh, but leftovers will keep.
* * *
Recipe to Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before (The Women's Restroom Line )
Waiting for the ladies room is the worst! Especially when you're close to the finish line... or you would be if six cut-throat, knee-clenching biddies hadn't got there first. Don't despair. What seems like unending discomfort is actually an opportunity for free trade!
Yield: 1-2 servings enrichment
1 public restroom (preferably with tourists)*
1 open mind
1 tbsp of good judgment
2 tsp tact
* Note: This recipe is for public use only. Not to be attempted anywhere you go more than once every three months.
Prep skewers with good judgment. Do the people around you seem crazy? If so, stop cooking. If not, proceed.
Skewer open-mind and tact, alternating ingredients. Strike up a conversation with whomever seems more interesting (before or behind). Ask them what they do.
Turn heat on high and broil. If they seem receptive, ask them for their advice on a problem you're having. Sometimes you'll get a nurse who can tell you about blister control. Sometimes you'll get a teacher who will tell you a funny story about a kid. If the gods are smiling, you might even get a psychologist who can analyze your texts. The road is paved in possibility.
This recipe can go up in smoke all too quickly, so keep an eye on your timing. If things start seeming overdone, flip sides.
To serve: Enjoy while hot.
* * *
Recipe for Un-Leading Someone On
Oops, you did it again. You went out with someone you were luke-warm on, you let it go too far, and now they have the wrong impression... namely, that hope is not dead. You didn't mean for it to happen, but you were feeling a little lonely/ frisky/ impulsive... whatever. The point is, you thought by being nice you would make things better and wound up making them worse... much worse. You feel like a grade-A wench because he seemed so happy when you left and now it's on you to pop the bubble you never should have inflated in the first place. You'd rather be fed to a tribe of cannibals than have to tell him it was a mistake. If you keep putting it off, he'll stop asking, right?
Not if you keep saying yes, you dingo. You're not a bad person... everyone pulls a "Portions for Foxes" at some point. But now it's time to put your big-girl panties on and make it right.
Recipe Yield: 1 clear conscience
1 recent experience where you crossed the line (raw)*
1 cup fresh guilt
1 tbsp responsibility
1 tbsp reality (unfiltered)
2 tsp gentleness
1 tsp firmness
¼ tsp courage
1 electronic communication device (for serving)
*For best results, the experience should be with a person you have only gone out with a few times. If you have led on a friend or an ex, an alternate technique is required.
Dump experience and fresh guilt in a saucepan and bring liquid to a boil. Allow all of the self-wench-calling to burn off, distilling the mixture down to true remorse: how would you feel if the real reason someone said yes to you was because they thought it was mean to say no? This is an acrid reduction that can quickly curdle into self-preserving accusations against the other person. Before a film forms, add in responsibility, reducing heat to a simmer. You both did what was necessary for what happened to happen.
When liquid has reduced by half, add reality. He's a grown-ass man. He may be bummed, but ultimately he'll appreciate that you didn't let him drag it out. Now he's free to find someone who has a real crush on him!
Add gentleness, directness, courage, and firmness into the mix and stir thoroughly. You'll know you're ready when the results look like: "That sounds fun, but to be honest I'm just not feeling this. You seem great, and I hope we can be friends."
Note: If results appear paltry, there can be a temptation to add an apology into the mix. This is not required and may tamper with the results. All you owe this person is the information you have just given them. How they handle it is up to them.
To Serve: Pour into electronic communication device before courage burns off. Add additional firmness as necessary.