Are y’all ready for some real talk? If not, just skip on down to the recipe. Are you still here? The real truth is this: I have no idea what I’m doing at all almost all of the time. At work, in the kitchen, on this blog, behind a camera, in my friendships and relationships. All the time. Mostly, I just make it up as I go along. But then sometimes, there are days that make me forget how to keep pretending. I’ll see another blog (or ten) that are better than anything I’m ever going to come up with. Or maybe I totally flub something at work and I worry that everyone can tell that I’m just guessing. I’ll read something that is so honest and good that I just know I’ll never be able to write anything like it. And after a while, that kind of down-on-myself stuff can really get to me. And before I know it, I’ve become afraid to press the “Publish” button on my blog. And then one thing after another just piles on top: I lost my camera cord, I can’t remember to buy new shampoo, and I keep oversleeping accidentally. Next thing I know, I have missed three weeks of blog posts, and then that feels too hard to overcome. I’ll get into a fight with Jason about exactly nothing and then miss my favorite yoga class, and then suddenly I feel like I’m drowning. Like everything is too much and all the things that I dream for myself are impossible.
It’s then that life needs a reset button. There should be a way to start fresh. To admit defeat and move forward instead of treading water. To admit that I’m always going to be mercilessly stubborn. To understand that my life will never look like a blog post. It will often look like a sink full of dirty dishes and piles of laundry. I’ve got to have a strategy for resetting. This time, it involves clean sheets, long walks, and kale.
This cold noodle salad is about simplicity and acceptance. These vegetables are raw, and not always cut straight, and that’s exactly right. Nobody is pretending to be anything they’re not. Everything is sliced thin, tossed, and enjoyed with a cold beer, someone you love, and a willingness to admit failure.
Here’s the recipe, adapted very slightly from Sprouted Kitchen:
1 bunch tuscan kale
5 tsp. toasted sesame oil
10 brussels sprouts
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (white or black)
3 pinches red pepper flakes
4-8 oz. soba noodles
First, sliver the brussels sprouts, removing the tough middle parts. Then, slice the kale into little slivers, removing the cores. Boil the soba noodles according to the instructions on the package. Make the dressing using all the other ingredients, and toss everything together. That’s it. We had this salad for dinner with baked sweet potatoes and beer.
I’m trying not to forget that I don’t always have to do everything right the first time. I know that I will absolutely screw things up, and that I’ll feel overwhelmed by my mistakes from time to time. But I can always press the reset button and try again, even if I’m watching Mona eat a dead bug off the floor while I’m trying to write a blog post (which is absolutely not happening right now, by the way). I’m trying to follow Kurt Vonnegut’s advice. He wrote, “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”