I suppose it's an inevitable consequence of education. In college, I minored in Philosophy, so when I make consideration of something, I tend to consider it in a philosophical manner. Lately the thing I have been considering is Defiance. Yeah. That's the word.
Now given the way my broken head works, I dance around a topic for awhile. I approach and retreat, maybe take a few spins and flips, and try out any other necessary steps before the final flourish. So I've actually been thinking of this for awhile now.
Here's what I think: defiance isn't what most people make it out to be.
I keep hearing about it from people I know, seeing it again and again in the news, and all too often on the answer center where I volunteer:
--I don't like this so I don't want to see it anywhere.
--I am offended and hurt so I won't listen.
--It isn't good enough for me, so I will never shop here again.
You know what that is? It's not defiance. It's anger and self-pity. Gotta put the right label on things.
True defiance is taking the stuff you don't like, handling your feelings of hurt, and dealing with the bad hand that life dealt you and doing all of that while working within the system to effect change. That is True Defiance. It's not loud and it's not angry. It does not aggrandize Self. It's hard work that pays off at the end of the day.....even though sometimes that day may be very long indeed.
Anyway, that's what I was thinking about this morning while I was defying my cold house by turning on the oven again--it really makes a difference. And the oven was on because I decided to make Dutch Baby for breakfast. I've heard of this recipe many times but never had it. It's similar enough to Popovers (read this post) which I make fairly often. So I searched online, read a dozen different recipes, and discovered that (typically) none of them were gonna work for me. I am one person, I don't often eat eggs, and there is no way I can deal with a recipe that serves four.
I spent 10 minutes doing math. Lots of math. I have no talent for math and when it comes to math that involves portions of cups and tablespoons, it really gets confusing.
I might have given in and made popovers but for one recipe that gave directions for lemon sugar. That excited my imagination. Now, I knew that there were no lemons in the house but there were two oranges. The oranges are from the parade food (this post again) that my good neighbor gave me. The problem is that the oranges had hit the pavement, and they were split partially open. I would need the zest of the oranges but there's no way you can zest an orange that is broken, is there? Well, yes, actually there is if you're motivated. That's defiance: taking what can't work and finding a way to make it work for you.
Thank goodness for the many, many times I've made marmalade--I know how to remove the pith easily from citrus peel. I sliced the peel off thinly, scraped the pith using the side of citrus knife, washed it, dried it in the frying pan that was heating in the oven, and put it in the food processor with the sugar. My orange sugar is beautiful stuff. So good! And this came from an orange that other folks might have thrown away--defiance. Using an old skill creatively to do something different--also defiance. I like that. And that's what I did to make the Dutch Baby as well--my popover-making experience came in handy there. (Me learning to make Popovers was also originally an act of defiance--strange how things work out.)
Breakfast? It was brilliant. (The Dutch Baby was taller but it started to fall when I was getting the camera ready.)
My version of the Dutch Baby:
Put a 7-inch cast iron frying pan into a cold oven. Turn the heat to 450. Beat one egg until frothy. Add 1/3 cup milk and beat one minute. Let this set to come to room temperature while the oven heats (about 5 minutes). (Recipes will tell you to bring ingredients to room temperature before you start but I am disinclined by nature to think too far ahead, so I have discovered that my method works well enough.) Add 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, a dash of salt, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Beat until smooth, about one minute. When the oven is hot, put a tablespoon of butter into the skillet to melt. Swirl it around the sides quickly. (The butter will brown but don't let this dismay you; it's normal.) Pour the thin batter into the pan and return it to the oven fast as you can so it doesn't lose more heat than necessary. Bake about 18 minutes until puffed and brown. Top with orange zest sugar and enjoy.
Defiance doesn't have to shake the entire world but it should make your corner of it better. Defiance combines careful consideration with action to make something new. It's not about screaming and fussing to get your way. It's about making your way through the alligators to get to the other side of the swamp safely and doing so with a feather in your cap, too (not to mention a nice new pair of alligator shoes).
Be defiant today. Be nice about it. Do it kindly. Watch your world change for the better. And maybe you can make Dutch Baby while you're at it.
Life is good.
.....and I almost forgot: that orange zest sugar is the peel of one small orange and 1/3 cup of sugar processed for about 45 seconds until well-incorporated.