Just like a crispy prosciutto flatbread pizza has many different delicious little components that make it the colorful and unique mosaic that it is, so do all the colors and flavors that each of us contain make us who we are, completely. Are you willing to share who you are?
Part of the utter beauty of humanity is how different we all are, and how we choose to express that difference, or those unique inner qualities and sensibilities that we’ve each been given, to the outside world that observes us.
When we’re young, we’re so very eager for the world to see who we are becoming and so we’re quick to express ourselves by doing our hair in a certain way, hanging out with a certain group of people, wearing a certain style of clothing, listening to a specific genre of music, and adhering to (and even displaying) a certain belief about life, rules, and authority.
All of those outer things communicate something about who we are on the inside, or at least where we are at that particular moment, on that particular portion of our journey.
Young human beings are bold and beautifully “wild” and untamed in a way, and what I specifically mean when I say that is that they’re just so open to exploring their identity and who they are (and aren’t), and that’s a wonderfully liberating thing.
So what happens to us as we get older?
Do we stop the exploration?
Certainly a level of maturity sets in as we grow out of our teens and then into our 20’s, 30’s and so forth; and of course with that maturity we tend to calm down a little and grow into what we hope to be “respectable adults”.
But unfortunately, I also think we often settle into life, and find out somewhere down the line that we’ve lost a little of who we are because we’re not exploring so much anymore, or nurturing the expressive part of things as much.
Perhaps, too, we become concerned that expressing who we are (or some part of who we are), will be unpalatable to others, or will lump us into some socially prescribed category that then forever labels us in a certain way that doesn’t completely accurately describe us anyway.
We also become all too familiar with the stinging snap of judgement, and what that feels like on our skin when we step too far out of preordained boundaries.
But why on earth can’t we be many things?
Who says that we can’t be a little rough-and-tumble, yet also incredibly tender and empathetic on the inside?
And why is it such a no-no to be a little grungy and “messy” in some ways, yet also drawn to the light and to those things of a higher nature that are meant to pull us to a higher level?
Doesn’t the totality of life include all of the above?
And isn’t the meaning of what it is to be alive found in the midst of both the stillness and the chaos, in the light and in the dark?
For me, it makes sense that each of us have a little of everything within us, but I’m not sure how comfortable we are with expressing it openly.
We don’t seem to like to talk about (or admit to) those things that are contrary to each other within us.
But unless we begin to do that, we will never get past just barely scratching the surface of things, never get real with each other and begin to come together in genuine love and understanding.
So here’s a question: if you felt you had complete freedom, and knew with all your heart that you wouldn’t be labeled and put into some “box” that couldn’t contain you anyway, how would you choose to express yourself in your life now?
Would it be different from one day to the next?
Would you be a little bolder?
Would you be willing to find your beautiful nuances, those things that seem contrasting yet somehow fit perfectly well with your other attributes in this amazing puzzle that you are, and show them to the world?
Would you be like a delicious prosciutto flatbread pizza, displaying a little bit of crispiness on some days, and then a gorgeous little tangle of crazy, wild greens on others?
Would you allow the mellow and creamy notes of a glorious meltable mozzarella cheese, or the nutty savoriness of parmesan, to come to the forefront on some occasions, while at other moments you’d allow for the zip and zing of a slightly sharp, sun-dried tomato chutney to shine?
Getting comfortable expressing the various aspects of one’s self is truly the only way to begin to gain an accurate picture of who we are as human kind.
Maybe we look conservative, or are a bit on the reserved side, but have a few tattoos; maybe we’re into taking care of our bodies and yet we’ll smoke the occasional cigar or cigarette, and have a bourbon alongside; maybe we have conversations—prayer—with God while driving on our way to work in silence, and then afterward put on some music that’s a little crazy, or a little dark, and a bit too loud.
Maybe language and the way we speak is, indeed, important to us, yet every now and then, there’ll be a curse word that slips out, and somehow, it’s exactly what’s needed on that occasion.
We’re a little messy, a little unappealing, a little dirty, and quite imperfect; yet somehow when that gets put together with the other aspects of us that are willing to love, willing to be caring, willing to be compassionate and loving, and to strive for being better everyday, then that, in my humble opinion, makes us utterly interesting, and perfectly human.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Crispy Prosciutto Flatbread Pizza with Arugula, Shaved Parmesan, and Sun-Dried Tomato Chutney
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 2 flatbread pizzas
• Olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 2 pieces lavash bread (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
• Black pepper
• 1 – 1 ½ cup grated, whole-milk mozzarella cheese
• 8 strips prosciutto, crisped up in a pan and torn up
• 1 cup arugula
• ¼ cup super thin-sliced red onion
• Sun-dried Tomato Chutney (recipe below)
• Shaved Parmesan
-Preheat the oven to 400°, and line a large (or two smaller) baking sheets with foil.
-Combine about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the pressed garlic, and brush one side of each lavash bread with the mixture; place the lavash onto the baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes, just until it begins to become crisp.
-Remove from oven, flip the lavash over onto the other side, and sprinkle that side with equal amounts of the grated mozzarella cheese; place back into the oven to bake for about 5 minutes, or until the sides of the lavash are golden-brown and crispy, and the cheese is melted.
-Finish the pizzas by sprinkling on the crispy prosciutto, then some of the arugula and thinly sliced red onion, and by drizzling on some of the Sun-dried Tomato Chutney; finish with a bit of shaved parmesan, and cut the pizzas into wedges or squares.
Sun-Dried Tomato Chutney Ingredients:
• ¼ cup julienned and packed in oil sun-dried tomatoes
• 2 cloves garlic
• 3 tablespoons red win vinegar
• 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley
• ½ teaspoon, heaping, salt
• Pinch black pepper
• ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
-Place all ingredients except for the olive oil into the bowl of a food processor, and process until a paste-like consistency; with the processor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until everything is emulsified; use immediately, or keep in a covered container in fridge.