I'm not quite sure how to articulate the kind of strange heartbreak I had the other day when Daughter #2 referred to herself quite proudly as being "the sensible one." She was surprised I didn't recognize her self-portrait in the classroom, because while other kids had fancy clothes, funny, outlandish outfits and hairstyles, Daughter #2's outfit in the picture was basic, straightforward, sensible, if you will. It was cute and well done, and represented her very well, but it wasn't anything spectacular, glittery, or out of this world. It was a very accurate reflection of Daughter #2.
I'm not exactly sure what I would want her to say, or want her to identify herself as, but I also know that sensible kind of jarred me in a place I didn't expect it to. I wondered if a just-turned-8-year-old girl should think of herself in that very plain term of sensible. I think I might have preferred that she call herself "whimsical" or "fanciful" or maybe even "a dreamer" but sensible isn't quite the word I want for her.
I spent much of the rest of that day wondering if I had sucked whimsy, fancy, and dreams out of her 8 year old life, and been far too pragmatic and practical, as it is my habit. I like order. I like simplicity. I like straightforward and direct movement. I'm not one for having patience for twirling and whirling. I've never called her princess or encouraged her to pretend she is one. I've encouraged level-headed thought, clear-minded thinking, and tried to help her see situations practically, sensibly, without many flights of fancy, probably because I don't think and operate that way.
I wonder if a child who has a completely practical mother has any room to be whimsical or fanciful? I wonder how much of her sense has to do with genetics (there is a long line of sensible women on my side) and how much has to do with her upbringing? If I had a much more whimsical life growing up, would I have in turn been more whimsical?
My cooking isn't whimsical. My favorite kind of food to eat isn't whimsical either. I like my food to be straightforward for the most part, and I like food to be what it claims to be - food. I'm presenting the simplest of salads (no recipe really) on this post as the least whimsical, most sensible dish that I've been enjoying in recent days. Four ingredients, three of which are visible to the eye (the hidden ingredient is a sprinkling of sea salt) and it sensibly comes together so quickly, there almost isn't any excuse NOT to have a light green salad at any meal. I favor Persian or the skinny cocktail cucumbers for this simple salad.
I can't even bother to put the slices down with anything but pure practicality. But don't let the simple, pared down nature of this salad fool you. It's refreshing, delicious, and a great foil to almost any meal you could have.
Cucumbers with Lemon
chili pepper flakes
Cut cucmbers, sprinkle salt and chili pepper flakes, and squeeze lemon juice. VOILA!