Work with me, please.


From time to time, I let myself out of food jail and cook something that I will likely be the only person in my home to eat. I love okra and I’ve been thinking for a while about an okra soup dish that I used to have at a West African restaurant in D.C. umpteen years ago. It was an ooey, gooey mess of okra over a whole deep-fried croaker. I think there was white rice too, and if not, there should have been. So, last night, I decided to try to recreate it, using as a starting point an okra soup recipe in a White House garden cookbook that my Ma-in-law gave me. To make the dish a little healthier, I opted for pan-fried trout and wild rice (well, to be honest, I would have cooked white rice, but I didn’t have any).

Normally, I would have cooked something else for the rest of the family. But, I was too tried, having left the house shortly after 9:00 am for an extended birthday party that involved building a bear, then food and play, then swimming; grocery shopping; and a trip to the dry cleaners.

I left it to Hubby to figure out what he and Dem Kids would eat. Wonderful man that he is, he pulled together some fries and nuggets, while I sat guilt-free on the couch with my little feast.

Sometimes, it’s ok to ignore people, the ones we love as well as others. I had practice last weekend too.

The longtime Dharma for Kids teacher at our Buddhist center left because her husband’s job relocated them to another country. Good for them, not so good for us. Now, parents are taking turns teaching each Sunday. My first turn was last Sunday. My luck, there was an 11-year old smart alec visiting for the first time. He was unhappy with his mom for leaving him with “the babies.” And, he didn’t try to hide it at all. I actually felt a little bad for him, until he started interrupting my story-reading every 90 seconds with questions that he thought were so clever but not. One of his questions was “If Buddha could see into the future, why didn’t he create a cure for cancer and HIV?” A better question would be “Why didn’t Buddha prevent cancer and HIV?” The other kids asked questions out of genuine curiosity or shared thoughts related to the story. That’s wonderful and welcome. I admit that I pretended not to see Smart Alec’s hand once, maybe twice. Let him drill his mom at home; it wasn’t my fault she made him come. By the way, this is further evidence that I could never be a teacher. But, otherwise it was a lovely class.

You can’t make everyone happy all the time. So, why not make yourself happy at least some of the time?

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