The Importance Of Remaining Sub Par At Mostly Everything
Yesterday, I cried over Dan Dan Noodles.
After a week of eating strictly vegan, my imagination ran wild with decadent cheese blends, crisp pork belly, bread pudding. The top contender? A nostalgic hankering for P.F. Changs style Dan Dan Noodles.
Of course, the minute I stepped into the kitchen, I butchered the recipe. But that's a generous retelling. I did find a recipe online but decided that my vivid imagination was a far better guide than any expert chef. So I improvised.
Needless to say, the garlic was burnt, the sauce was clumpy and my garnish wilted after 10 minutes of sitting out on the counter unattended.
It was a monstrosity.
But amidst the tears and choice set of words I directed toward my undignified plate of mush, I looked to the bookcase and noticed our handmade family cookbook sitting idly on the shelf. Inside were a list of the recipes, from cheesecakes to lamb to sweet potato soup, I've mastered over the years. All of which are not only edible but true joys to both make and serve to the people I love.
The Dan Dan Disaster of 2017 was a crucial reminder that in order to excel in certain areas of our lives, we have to remain mostly sub par at everything else. Otherwise, I imagine we'd all be aimless wanderers consistently distracted by work we happen to be good at versus work that actually makes us feel good.
The joy of my Dan Dan Noodles evaporated the minute I realized the reality of actually working at and perfecting them—entirely incomparable to the passion I felt after making my first pumpkin cheesecake or finally nailing down the perfect cook time for my homemade lasagna.
We can't be good at everything. Which means accepting that we'll be pretty average at most things. But I suppose that's what makes finding our thing so much sweeter and worth working towards.
So for now, I'll leave the Dan Dan Noodle game to P.F. Changs. But, hey, if you're ever in the market for a killer cheesecake recipe, I might just be your girl.