The other day I wanted to try a new recipe. I had gathered all the ingredients over a few days time. I went to get the vanilla extract out of the spice cabinet. There was none to be found. I took every single spice out of that cabinet and nothing. I found peppermint extract, gravy master, chicken boullion cubes and red pepper flakes, (talk about something I will never use), but no vanilla. I asked myself, outloud mind you, “What kind of household doesn’t have vanilla in their cabinet?” I couldn’t believe that a mainstay of every household was not in mine.
When I was a kid we were kind of poor just like everybody else at the time. It wasn’t like today where you have snacks laying around waiting for the whim of temptation to consume them. If we wanted a treat we had to check the fridge and the cabinets to figure out what we could do with what we had. My brother liked to bake, so one of the things he would make was sugar cookies. Sugar was always a staple in every household, then and now, or at least it should be. Yes, sugar, flour, eggs, bread, butter, milk, potatoes, vanilla were all staples because you could make anything out of them including easy to stretch meals for hungry, large families. For example, homemade bread, egg noodles, french toast, scrambled eggs and toast etc… . By the way there was no distinction between what was breakfast food, lunch or dinner. If you could put it together , that was the meal. There were occasions when we wanted something sweet so we would butter a piece of bread and sprinkle sugar over it. We used what we had and we never went hungry.
I am a 57 year old woman and have maintained a household for most of my life. The necessities of the kitchen have always been maintained. It’s a matter of survival in my mind. You’ve got to have the staples and you will never starve. Creativity will always win out over starvation. So now I ask you and myself, “Why don’t I have vanilla in my cabinet?” It’s a travesty if I say so myself. It’s like a carpenter not having his tool belt with him at work. Am I making this dramatic enough for you?
As I am going off the deep end here about the absence of vanilla in my cabinet, I realize that the true subject here is tools. We need our tools to complete tasks. Each job a person does requires certain tools such as pen and paper for a writer , clay for a potter, a stethoscope for a Nurse, paint brushes for an artist, staple ingredients for a baker, and the list goes on and on.
There are different kinds of tools for other facets of our lives too. We are not just physical beings who need to complete tasks in order to live. We are spiritual beings and we need tools to nurture our spirituality on a daily basis. These tools can include meditation and prayer. Our physical bodies need tools such as exercise and healthy eating habits in order for us to function properly. Our emotional well being requires other tools. Peace and quiet, laughter, fun and excitement can all fulfill our mind’s needs. The tools that I have mentioned are required to live a full and purposeful life. They are the staples of a well rounded human being. When we have the right means available to us we are able to grow and learn and have purpose on such a grand scale. These intangible tools give us coping skills, the ability to love and share and truly make the world a better place.
As much as I have dramatized the absence of vanilla extract in my kitchen, there are unfathomable benefits to having all the tools we need in our everyday living. I have rectified the absence of vanilla in my cabinet and I intend to rectify any other absence of important tools that I need in every area of my life. It’s a process. But by being aware of the fact that I need to fill empty spaces on my journey of life, I can search deep inside myself and find tools that I never knew I had and if I don’t have the tools necessary, I will research and nurture a growing knowledge until I find what I need to complete this task of living life to the fullest.
I have the recipe. The ingredients are all gathered and I am ready to proceed forward in creating the best product that I can produce. What have you got baking today?