12 April 2009

Easter Eggs and Gumbo

We colored eggs yesterday, and the Spouse, er, The Easter Bunny left a basket of goodies for Wee Lass to find this morning when she came downstairs after getting out of bed. She was very excited, especially when she saw the nibbled pieces of carrot we had left out for the Bunny. She laughed and oohed and aahed over the candies and the eggs. Her laughter warmed my heart.

Eggs, resurrection and rejuvenation on my mind as I sat down to write something this morning. Inspiration coming to me this morning in the form of sunlight streaming through the window next to the couch. A chilly Easter Sunday outside, clear warmth spilling across me and the computer as I write, here inside the house. Eggs made me think of food, which made me think of cooking, which made me think of writing. Which in turn, made me think of how little writing I have done lately. I am, I realized, in dire need of rejuvenation. Not exactly being in position to provide it for myself, I have been seeking it in the work of others.

I have read of a gumbo that, believe it or not, includes sliced hardboiled eggs as part of the recipe. It may sound weird, but it is in keeping with "gumbo" as a concept, a method rather than a proscribed set of ingredients.

And isn't that a wonderful thing?

I used to want a recipe for everything, no matter what I was doing: cooking, reading, writing...living. For a while this worked. Recipes are useful in that they give structure and ideas where there may be none. A recipe can give you a map when one has no idea of the terrain. Recipes can also be limiting. Be careful the recipe does not become a trap.

Recipes are dangerous in that they only inform, they do not teach.

Following recipes is not so much an exercise in achieving brilliance as it is one of avoiding failure. The distinction is subtle, but crucial. I say this because I have eaten more of my mistakes than I have dished up my triumphs. And I have learned so much from those mistakes. There comes a time where one has to do, not just be a passive observer.

That is not to say it is impossible to learn by watching, observing, studying.

Last week I was honored to have three guests posts here on Irish Gumbo: Captain Dumbass, Idiot Boy and cIII. And it occurred to me, as sat down in the sunbeam at the window, that I hadn't asked those fine gentlemen to post because I was too lazy.

It was because I wanted to learn something. I was looking for rejuvenation, something to shore up my sagging spirits and worn-out mind after a long winter of cold, grey damp and spiritual corrosion. I reckoned all three of those fellows would be able to help, and my instinct was rewarded. My spirits were lifted by their humor, rejuvenated by their insight. I learned something about writing. Suffering from thin blood and cold hands, that was the tonic I needed to shake off some rust.

Am I ready to get back in the driver's seat, set my feet in the blocks, hit the ignition button? Not quite, but I am warming up. It's spring, there are blossoms on cherry and forsythia. I can feel the sap rising in the trees. It won't be long.

Happy Easter, one and all. Time to start waking up.


  1. It's a nice rambling though. I hear you on waking up. I might be right there with you. Spring is a less than smooth transition for me...

    Happy Easter, Gumby.

  2. Great post, and sounds like a good one for my site! I will have to consider a joining of the blogs, well I will link to yours for now and wait for the master chef to come out for a little Iron Chef Challenge...

  3. I hope that you and you family have a blessed easter.

  4. thanks for the post, we've always been addicted to the list, the plan, the map, the . . . er, uhm, . . . recipe? :-0

    its safe, ya know? when we fail, its the map that got it wrong.

    there's something else going on, though. there's the confusion, the inability to focus, the . . . well, as Barry would say, the noise.

    new beginnings, huh?

    know what, I.G.? we're game, gonna lose the recipe fer awhile and go for the gumbo . . .

    happy Easter. :-)


    Have a great day with your family Gumbo!

  6. I had a boss once who used to say, "When all else fails... just do something. Even if it's wrong."

    Not the best advice for a construction crew, but perfect for the kitchen or the blog.

    I always tell people I'm teaching to mix audio, "Go ahead and MIX! If it sucks you can always put it back."

  7. You gotta love spring.

    Thanks to you Irish. I appreciate you inviting me to be a part of your very special blog, if only for a little while.

    Peace, brother

  8. I think that's the joy of a place like this - lots of creative people with different styles who help to get the grey matter firing again when it's needed.

    Happy chocolate egg fluffy bunny day, old stick!

  9. I'm not so much a recipe person.
    Can you tell?

  10. Can't wait til you are back full time. Happy Easter!

  11. I've been experimenting this year. Experimenting in the recipe of my life. I loved this post!

  12. I love it when the sap is rising! So nice to be reading you again!


  13. Well, it's dependent on the recipe - if you're making chili there's a lot of leeway; if you're baking a genoise, not so much. It's the same way with writing.

    It's good to have you here, my friend, even if it's simply to ramble.

  14. Man ... for a minute there I thought you were gonna go dissin on my recipes. WHEWS! You'd have been D E D dead! he he!!! great post! bright blessings. ~S~

  15. I reckon recipes are really just guidelines. Like instructions for the Table Saw were just "manufacturers Recomendations".

    It's always good to tinker around with the Recipe. Always.

    And.....There's no such thing as too much Garlic or Tabasco.

  16. Yeah, wake up already. . .damn it!!!!

  17. I need some wakeup my self.

    Having trouble posting anything of value.

  18. I'm off the buy you a BIGGER alarm clock. Maybe THAT will wake your ass up.

  19. Happy Belated Easter, IG. So glad you're going to be returning to us soon. You've been missed.

  20. And you learn far more from your mistakes than you ever do from your triumphs. I joined your blog just as you went back to work. Looking forward to seeing you start to write again!

  21. Great guests, and I especially like the way your wrapped that all up. Recipes inform and its a tool we put in our bag and pull out again. Often when I'm writing I hear bits and turns from other bloggers or books I'm reading. Sometimes its so familiar, I'm not sure if I wrote it or remember it!


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...