I still like and admire the first boy I ever kissed. I was fifteen and he was seventeen. Years later we met in Portland for dinner and to catch up. His blond hair was prematurely greying, but his little round glasses and his winsome smile still made him look charmingly boyish. He confided in me that he would never go home to Germany again. His parents were too disappointed in him. He is a pilot, a professor and holds PhD’s in aeronautical engineering, physics and quantum physics.
When I was young and naive B. walked into my office one day. He was too tall and too thin, geeky, balding with a smile that was a little too big for his face. I never expected that he would turn out to be the first real love of my life. He is kind, generous, witty, smart, well traveled, an accomplished sailor, mountain climber, pilot and holds two degrees. In our older, more worn years he and I were sitting in a hot tub one night, looking up at the stars as he brooded into his wine glass over his failures. (One of them being me.) He started talking about the expectations his family had for him. He was, after all, a Hancock. He was supposed to do great things.
A few years after that, I went to the ocean with JJ and some friends. After a couple bottles of wine, he stumbled drunk around the room, waiving his wine glass and talking about how his parents expected great things from him, how he was the star of his family until his brother came along. His crooked, pouting lips and his graceful dark eyes showed his sadness and confusion inside. He is sweet, gentle, passionate, tenacious, smart, thoughtful, a lover of literature and a lovely writer. My poor Brahmin boy.
The more I cook the more I think about expectations. I guess it’s because we start off a recipe imagining how it will turn out. Everyone has expectations. Too many can slowly sap the life out of us. I’m sure we have all had the experience of going to a restaurant, thinking it would be an amazing experience. The other day my mother and I went to Cicada, expecting their delectable squash pancakes. They took them off the menu and had a new cook. It was disappointing.
So, to avoid any expectations, I am going write down all the ingredients for this recipe in no particular order, tell you the basic cooking style and not tell you what it is or how the hell it should come out. It was one of the first things I learned to cook and has always been one of my favorite things to make. I wrote in a previous post that one should not mistake the basics for a one-size-fits-all philosophy of cooking. It holds true here. If you don’t like spinach, don’t put it in. Any vegetable will due. Try mushrooms, substitute all the veggies for mushrooms if you want. How about broccoli and tofu? Or not. Throw out you expectations and engage your creativity.
about 1/2 a cup of milk
a baking pan of some sort
another two eggs
puff pastry sheets
some fresh herbs like Oregano or Rosemary
one more egg
a little cheese – what ever kind you like. I like brie.
what ever else seems tasty
I’ll give you a few little hints to get you on your way. Bake this stuff. Try 375 degrees. The only really important part of this whole recipe are the eggs. Butter your baking pan so it doesn’t stick. Those are the basics. You might fail, but don’t worry. I don’t expect you to be perfect.