Thursday, 15 January 2015

This Life Is A Pot of Soup

This life is a pot of soup. And I've never seen soup made with just water. For various dishes, there are core ingredients. For various dishes, there are additions. For centuries to come, what constitutes the core ingredients of one dish will be contentious. For decades to come, what constitutes the perfect additives will be debated.

Say I wish to cook risotto, it follows that my core ingredient will be rice, yeah? So here comes Kira Westwick, Masterchef Australia 2014 contestant, who decides to ‘re-invent’ risotto and make her dish with quinoa not rice. In an elimination round. In spite of the judges apprehension over her place in the competition because of the decision. Still, Kira insisted on making quinoa her core ingredient while retaining the original preparation techniques. End result? Of the 3 contestants who were up for elimination, Kira’s dish was ‘judged’ the best. Whether she won or not is immaterial. What’s impressive is Kira’s conviction in challenging “accepted truth” and her ability cook in a way that was true to her.

So what am I saying? Same thing I've always believed. Individual variations and twists will always exist. If I say my pot of soup is tasty. You may taste and say its ‘just there’. Does it make my pot of soup less tasty to me? It doesn’t. If you say your pot of soup is tasty, and I taste and agree its the best I’ve ever had, I'll gleefully request the recipe and attempt to recreate. Until that time comes though, it would be highly unfair to compel me to forever eat from your pot of soup. It just won’t work. How about I enjoy my pot of soup, while you take a bowl and enjoy yours. As we eat from our individual pots of soup, we could even enjoy a great conversation over a glass of wine, no?

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Take motherhood for instance. Let’s say we all agree that presence of a child is the core ingredient. Yeah? That's great. Now if your recipe calls for those children to be biological while my recipe says the child could adopted, formally or informally. If that’s what delights your taste buds,  let's enjoy our various pots of soup. You will never agree that you are less a ‘real mother’ because your core ingredient is biological. I won’t ever agree that I am less of a ‘real mother’ because my core ingredient is adopted. It’s fine. We can delight in the tastes of our individual pots of soup and move on.

Take relationships for instance. Let’s say we all agree that the basic core ingredient is love. Your recipe may call for an addition of two consenting people to the love equation.  Mine may say number doesn’t count for much. Your grandma’s recipe may say the dish is only authentic when additions to it are a man and a woman. My grandma’s recipe may say that gender doesn’t count much in determining the final taste. You could say it is only proof of your dish’s authenticity is a written contract; I could say my recipe calls only for a trust agreement between both parties. While your recipe may call for the additives to live together, mine could say the additives love their personal space so the ingredients work well irrespective of geographical proximity. If the core ingredients of mine are trust, respect and communication, you may agree but say it is sweetest when an additive of exclusivity is thrown in. That’s fine. Exclusivity may sweet your belle while it runs our belles. Add your additive to yours, we'll do without the additive in ours. In no scenario can I mandate everyone to eat from my pot because it’s the sweetest. If mine is sweet to me and yours is sweet to you, let's both enjoy our individual pots of soup and move on. If one day I come across another person's pot that’s tastier, I'll inquire for the recipe.

Take careers. If we both agree that the core ingredient for fulfillment in this is the presence of work, that's great. If you say other ingredients to add to make your soup sweet include stable hours, regimented pay, and recognition for work done, I'm glad your pot of soup is delicious to you. The essentials for mine may be freelance, flexible hours, and enough cash to cater form day to day expenses. If I’m genuinely happy with the quality of my soup, that’s also fine. Now, we both are happy with our pots of soup. Will you however force feed me with your soup, while you wash mine down the drain? Let's enjoy and move on.

These situations are mere constructs but I could go on and on. My guess is that we get the picture, so let me refrain from flogging the point.

And so in conclusion, if my pot of soup of my pot of soup is tasty to you, feel free to share out of it. If you feel I'm missing out on the real goodness that constitutes your pot of soup. Feel free to share your recipe. I may try yours out and realize yours really does taste better. I may also try yours out but find my taste buds agree better with mine. Alternatively, I could decide not to try yours out because I'm perfectly content with mine. Until that day where the decision is made, or not, nothing stops us from enjoying our individual pots of soup, while we have a great conversation over a glass of wine.

P.S: I could say life is a pot of soup, another could say it's actually a pot of beans. Someone else may say soup and beans could actually mean the same thing. It's fine. As long it is enjoyable to us, and your eating yours is not harming me.   Let's all enjoy our pots of 'x' and move along. No?