Just as a savory Baba Ganoush needs all of its components and steps in order to make it a completed and delicious recipe to tuck into, so is it important to navigate and see-through even the challenging and less-desirable experiences in life, because so often, they provide us the flavor and the tempering we so desperately need for a complete and whole life.
Don't you find that the natural impulse for the human being tends to be to want to get out of, or get over with, any experience that is uncomfortable or challenging?
We want to run away from it, want to skip over whatever lesson it may be teaching us, and head straight for blue skies and days of permanent sunshine, ones with no clouds or disturbances to make us feel uneasy and uncertain.
When we deem something uncomfortable or negative, naturally, we look to extract ourselves from the situation, as surely we wonder, “What good could possibly come of it?”
And that's the right question to be asking.
Could something good—something life-changing, something mentality changing, attitude shifting— possibly come from struggling through times of intense challenge, discomfort, and even pain?
Could allowing even those moments in our life when things seem unbearable and utterly bleak to completely play themselves out fully, not cutting them short, actually add amazingly rich and beautiful layers and flavors to the complete story of our life?
And could they even be the moments that shape us and change us, mold us, into becoming even stronger human beings than we were before we experienced them, therefore becoming gifts in disguise for us?
When I look back on the landscape of my life, and think about those times that created a lot of struggle within my spirit, a lot of pain, conflict, or even fear of never making it out of the situation at the time, I now feel a sort of sweetening take place over the events, and see with my more mature eyes and sensibilities how necessary the experiences were, and how much they softened my rough and pointy edges, and taught me a thing or two about who I am and what I'm made of.
I see now how they tempered me, and helped to reveal a more authentic me.
If it is possible for us to see that nothing that we are permitted to go through is an accident; or that whatever circumstance we find ourselves in, in any given moment of our life, is a circumstance that we're meant to find ourselves in, then perhaps we can more gracefully navigate through our uncomfortable times with eyes and ears purposefully open, consciously taking in, as an observer would, all that is happening to us, around us and within us.
That we can perhaps, in the friction, get information about what we want and what we do not want, and why that may be; that we may learn to exercise some faith and still feel like we are being led, for our good at the end of it, into a state of understanding and peace, and of completeness.
Just as a unique recipe for a rich Baba Ganoush must be properly seasoned and then perhaps topped with a finishing touch of good-quality, delectably meltable cheese, and then broiled off to finish in order for it to be the recipe that it was ideally meant to be— a completed recipe with all of its elements and flavors in place in order to make it whole and enjoyed fully—so it is with our lives that we must allow for even the experiences that we'd rather run from to flavor and inform the totality of our story in order that we may, some day, call it a completed one.
It's not easy to stay put and consciously experience challenge and strife in our life; it's not a breeze to have faith that “this too shall pass”.
But the truth is, it does.
Nothing stays the same forever—not the joyful and “light” moments, nor those moments of discomfort and “darkness”.
If we're able to remember to see them as opportunities for a lot of growth to happen, albeit painful growth sometimes, and allow them to melt into us and become another layer of flavor in the totality of our life rather than cutting them short, then they can then be turned into something quite amazing, and a means for strengthening, stretching, and tempering.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Baba Ganoush with Fresh Herbs and Melted Mozzarella
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 6
• Canola oil
• 1 large onion, quartered and sliced into semi-circles
• Black pepper
• 2 Japanese eggplants, diced small
• 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 tablespoon chopped, flat-leaf parsley
• ½ cup shredded, whole-milk mozzarella cheese
• Pita chips
*Note: A traditional Baba Ganoush recipe calls for roasted (charred) eggplant and tahini; however, I chose to fashion mine after my own taste—eclectically unique, with the addition of melted mozzarella cheese over top. 😉
-Place a large pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3-4 tablespoons of the oil; once hot, add in the sliced onion, plus a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute for a few minutes until beginning to get golden.
-Add in the diced eggplant, plus another small pinch of salt and pepper, and continue to saute until the eggplant begins to soften and become golden, about 6-10 minutes.
-Add in the diced Roma tomatoes, plus another small pinch of salt/pepper, and stir those in to incorporate and soften, about 4 minutes, or until the mixture becomes a jam-like consistency.
-Add in the garlic and stir in to combine; once it becomes aromatic, turn off the heat.
-Add the mixture to a food processor, and pulse just until a chunky-smooth, dip-like consistency, and check to see if any additional salt/pepper is needed; stir in the chopped parsley.
-Spoon mixture into an oven-safe baking dish, and top with the mozzarella cheese; place under the broiler to melt the cheese, making it golden-brown and bubbly.
-Top with another small sprinkle of herbs, if desired, and enjoy warm with pita chips.