Who are you? And what does your business card say about you? Are “you” the sum of many things or does one thing define you more than another? These are the kinds of questions that come to me when I stand before the brewing coffee pot and wait for that first cup of joe to clear my cognitive cobwebs. Almost six years ago I went from being a full-time high school English teacher to a stay-at-home mom and suddenly I didn’t even have a business card.
One of the things that grey hair has taught me is that a business card really is irrelevant for me. Because no 2″x3″ piece of paper is capable of encapsulating the hot mess that makes me “me”. A Venn Diagram, now that might come a bit closer to giving folks an idea of who I am. Retired teacher. Mother of three. Pet owner and poop scooper. Comedian. Writer. Reader. Gardener. Cross-stitcher and knitter. Board game and card player. And cook. My Venn Diagram would include all these in the “My Favorite Things” circle. It would, of course, separate the poop scooper bit over to the “My Not-So Favorite Things” right along with “driving children to swimming lessons” and “grocery shopping with 3 kids in tow”.
But that middle bit, that “Sweet Spot” is who I really am – not just things that I do in my day, but the bits that make me the happiest. In it you would find “snuggling with my kiddos” and “talking to people I love” and “reading” and “surfing the web” and “cooking” to be very, very sure. My “Sweet Spot” is the area of activities that have actually come to define who I am.
A few weeks ago, I was hosting some out-of-town guests for a dinner in which I would not partake (confusing, I know). So I put out this little plea on Twitter: “Does anyone have a lasagna recipe that always turns out?” And, of course, I got responses. Good ones. And I also got tweets and messages that said, “let me know how it turns out!”
In addition to recipes from my Twitter friends Jeffe and Cynthia, I also browsed stacks of cookbooks, cooking magazines and databases. A few hours later, and I was creating my list of “common elements” from all the recipes I found. And from all that data, I began building what turned out to be some pretty dang tasty lasagna. (Well, I heard it was tasty. Remember, I didn’t eat any of it – such is the sad life of a performer.)
If I were to create a Venn Diagram of cooking tidbits, recipes, and information I’ve gathered in the 38 years I’ve been cooking, I would label one circle “Great Ideas to Try” and one circle “I’m Not Real Sure About This” and the center would be “Things To Repeat”. Here are two “tidbits” I found lately and you can decide how I included them in my cooking Venn Diagram.
1. If using “no-boil” noodles, spread the noodles with the ricotta-cheese mixture first, then build lasagna from the “frosted” noodles. (Cooking For Engineers)
2. When making macaroni salad, use a can of sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups of mayonnaise, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of vinegar as the “dressing” for 1 pound of uncooked macaroni. (Wanda’s Macaroni Salad)
I’m sure I’ve encouraged all of you to either rethink your business card (I’m fond of the wacky ones), what to make for dinner (I say go for pasta!) or just how many calories are in macaroni salad anyway (that particular one weighs in 605 calories and 38.8 fat grams per serving).
I’d love to hear what’s on your business card. Or what your Venn Diagram looks like. Or your favorite recipe. Or even your favorite recipe for a Venn Diagram business card. You can do mine first.