I am afraid of change. This is not something that is a new discovery to me. I’ve always thrived on comfort, sameness and reliability. Abby is quite the opposite, she thrives and find a weird distorted comfort in change. Upheaval fuels her, drives her and inspires her. In those times of sweeping change I am more likely to get overwhelmed, turn grumpy, and shut down completely. I tend to be much better at adapting plans on the fly however, redirecting around a roadblock, but keeping with the general theme. In churning water, there is no defined direction, and she is free to chose her own path, from start to finish. Floating on a river with established course and direction, I better ride the ebbs and swirls to customize my experience. They are different ways of approaching a problem, neither one necessarily better than the other.
As a result, she tend to do better with all new recipes, whereas I find comfort in making small incremental changes to established patterns. As the magnificent woman that she is, she has recognized my particular foibles, and intentionally gives these small challenges to expand me.
The most recent good example: Arrowroot Powder.
I came home from work to find a full bag of this mysterious white powder, and the vague instruction, “It’s a thickener. I’m thinking of reducing our gluten intake.” There are a lot of thickeners, is it like cornstarch? Is it like wheat flour? Chia Seeds (a previous variable introduced)?
So, after reading a bit, it’s a starch harvested from beating the crap out of and drying several different tropical tubers. I’ve always been suspicious of “substitutes” because they always seem to come out being worse than the thing they are replacing. I avoid all the fake sugars, regardless of how “natural” they are. Stevia, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium, and saccharin. Pass. Margarine? I’m good, I’ll just use butter, but a bit less of it. So, I was suspect, but it thickens well, and doesn’t impart a weird taste or flavor like tapioca starch.
It worked well to replace flour for the roasted pepper and cauliflower soup we make pretty frequently.
On the other hand, I tried to make a pair of pies gluten free, on a whim. I’m not really sold on the concept of gluten free for everyone, but I have some friends who are, so it would only be polite to develop a couple dishes to accommodate. They were…ok… I guess. There is really no replacement for butter and flour in a pie crust. I made a blueberry pie and a pumpkin pie. The blueberry was supposed to be blackberry, but I missed the season somehow and I was too emotionally invested to turn back. It ended up like a sweet cobbler of tiny eyeballs. The pumpkin pie turned out a bit eggy and the crust never crisped up.
But, it’s another tool in the chest, and one that I can see a solid use for. I guess change isn’t all that bad, as long as I can do it one bite at a time.