The last week has been a challenging one, as Zoë’s taste buds have seemed to go on vacation one more time. It is hard to find the motivation to eat when you cannot taste what you are eating. It is also a challenge to cook for someone whose taste buds are temporarily on vacation. However, through it all I have learned an important lesson. Sometimes simple is best. It really hit home for me tonight as I was watching a rerun of Rachel vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-off where Taylor Dayne simple tomato basil sauce beat out Joey Fatone. The reason she won was the simplicity of her sauce. They could taste the tomato, the cheese, and the basil. Sometimes simple is better.
After trying a wide diversity of things this last week to tantalize Zoë’s taste buds, the one thing that tasted good for her was chicken salad. It was a mixture of left over chicken diced up, some chopped onion, salt, pepper, and mayo on a toasted bun. This simple sandwich, which took me virtually no time to make, has been the one thing that has tasted so good. The lasagna did not even look appealing, the Frito pie had no taste, nor did the chilidog nachos. The roasted chicken with fresh green beans and smashed potatoes all tasted bland. Yet when I took the leftovers from that chicken and transformed it into a chicken salad, it tasted divine. Sometimes simple is better.
Tonight, I had a few people who came for the Love Café and we had a wonderful time. I was a little concerned because I try to have home baked goods to go with the coffee, and I found myself with no butter. It is hard to make any baked goods without butter. Then I remembered the most simplistic cookie recipe I know – peanut butter cookies that have three ingredients. They are so simple to make
1 cup peanut butter (any kind)
1 cup sugar or splenda
1 large egg
Mix all the ingredients together, drop them on a pan, make the little fork marks in two directions if you want and then bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool and eat. Those who ate them said you could smell them as you walked in the door and that they were so moist. It took longer to preheat the oven then it did to make the cookies. What I was able to serve my guests were these amazingly moist peanut butter cookies. Sometimes simple is better.
As I lay in bed tonight meditating, I was struck by how sometimes we try to make things so complex, when sometimes simple is better. For example, praying does not need to be complex; it just requires a few simple and readily agreeable ingredients: you, your higher power, and a willingness to say this is what I need. There is no need to be in any specific position, or to pray in any specific way. You do not need to be wearing any kind of specific clothes; you just need to start talking about what is going on and what you need. It is not so much for the benefit of the Infinite, but for us. God already knows what we need, but when we can articulate it for ourselves, then we begin to bring our prayers into fruition. There is nothing complicated to praying, sometimes simple is better.
The same is true for just about any spiritual discipline. Whether what enables you to connect with spirit is journaling, praying, meditating, reading, or some other thing like baking cookies, the secret is this – keep it simple. You do not need to have a fancy computer or software to journal, you just have to sit down and start writing from your soul. The primary ingredient you need is time, faith, and discipline. It is that simple.
Whether you are making a compound butter to go on top of a steak, a tomato basil sauce, a grilled cheese sandwich, peanut butter cookies, or connecting with your Higher Power, remember this – keep it simple.