I’m usually a pretty good cook, better than average I’d say. There are a few things that I really don’t excel at, however, frying being one of those.
Tonight I was testing out a recipe for The Vegan Pagan Kitchen, and it really turned out badly. I tried to make fried okra, and I used vegan mayonnaise instead of an egg dip to hold the breading on. Well, the vegan mayonnaise dissipated, and the breading was light and flaked right off. To be fair, the sweet onion/tomato/basil sauce was on point, but the okra just turned out really bad. (How can a fried food be simultaneously greasy AND dry?)
I don’t deal with failure well, and so I spent some time analyzing where I went wrong. First, I don’t really have a lot of skill when it comes to frying things. That’s something I can work on and improve. The second problem, however, is deeper and more problematic.
I just put my dog to sleep yesterday. She was my child. I know people with children would take exception to comparing my love for Tweak to their love for their children, but I stand by what I say. She came to me when I was stuck in a really bad, unsupportive, unhappy relationship and she brought me joy. She brought me so much joy that I started working with local dog rescue organizations. Through the rescue work, I ended up adopting Puck, and then Buster.
She stuck with me through all the bad parts in my life, and she was the reason I kept going. She was so neurotic and prickly, that I knew she wouldn’t let anyone else take care of her. It came down to me, so I kept on going to make sure she’d be OK. It would seem like I was working to take care of her, but she was taking care of me at the same time.
Later, when I met Bear, she decided that she would tolerate him for my sake. I was grateful. Eventually, they grew to love each other too when she realized that he wasn’t violent and abusive. (Her first owner was a man who beat her. She had a lot of trust issues with men.) I think the silent agreement was that she would keep the boy dogs in line if I kept the boy Bear in line. The girls rule this house.
At any rate, she was 15, arthritic, and had been losing weight progressively for the last few months, regardless of how much extra food we fed her. She was winding down, but she was still doing OK. Until she wasn’t. And we held onto her for a week, spoon-feeding her canned food, holding her steady so she could go to the bathroom outside when her legs stopped working, petting her and talking to her gently even though she hadn’t been able to actually hear for 2 or more years.
We held her as she got her ‘lethal injection’, and told her what a good girl she was and how much we would miss her. Then we brought her home and buried her. And I keep hearing her whining somehow. Or I get really excited when I hear doggie toenails on our tile floor. I miss her so much it aches.
Cooking is an affirmation of life. It’s a celebration, especially around this time of year. I’ve been working on collecting Mabon recipes, and the fried okra was meant to be one of them.
But how can I do this life-affirming, celebratory thing effectively when I’m in mourning?
We’ve lost 10 people over the last 6 years, Bear had a heart attack, my health tanked (fibro sucks), and now I’ve lost my baby girl. So I’ve been thinking about what it all means. Again, my cooking is a way that I try to nourish those I love, it’s very much a symbol of life. And I don’t know if it can exist side-by-side with so much death.
Maybe it’s time to take a step back from cooking, and just eat what’s fast for a while. Maybe I really need to explore what all this death energy means in my life, and if there’s some deep lesson that I’m supposed to glean from it. Maybe it’s an indication of some life path that I’m ignoring. Should I be thinking about ways that I can work (in my limited, disabled means) to help other people, other Pagans, deal with death? Or is all this loss just some karmic lesson that I’m supposed to learn in this lifetime?
I don’t know. I have a lot to think about. All I know is that I miss my Tweak, and I suck at frying okra.
I fell behind on recording my Bewitching the Cards episodes for this week. (I’m trying to record on Monday so that they’re edited and scheduled ahead of time.) I do want to record tomorrow, and I want to keep up the creative momentum that I built up last week. However, the next card in my series is 13- Death. Ouch.
Mabon is the day after tomorrow. It’s a balance of light and dark, turning to the energies of the dark half of the year. It’s very appropriate for me right now. Hope everyone has a really great one. Blessed be.