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On Balance

Mike and I own the traditional Italian cookbook called The Silver Spoon. In it there is a simple little recipe for sauce, which we basically follow - though it is never exactly the same each time. If we have lots of tomatoes in the fridge or in the backyard, we add a few more. Sometimes we use canned tomatoes. Sometimes we add a bit more onion or garlic depending on what is on hand. Sometimes there is an abundance of basil in the garden and sometimes in the middle of winter there is none (and neither of us feels like spending $5 for a sad handful of it at the grocery store).

The one thing that we strive for each time we make a sauce for a pasta is actually less about the sauce itself and more about the proportions of sauce to pasta. The Silver Spoon says that one's sauce should never drown the pasta. This is certainly true - too much sauce and you can't taste the delicate pasta. Not enough sauce though, and the meal becomes altogether too heavy, flavourless, and difficult to eat. So we attempt to find the correct balance between the two. This is a lot like a marriage.

Khalil Gibran wrote about a married couple being like two pillars of a temple that should not stand too closely together, having "spaces in their togetherness" instead. Very true. Although, if Gibran had been Italian, he likely would have used pasta and sauce as his metaphor.

If I am the pasta, then Mike is the sauce. If our relationship focuses on either one of our needs too heavily for too long, then we are either devoid of flavour or drowning. When we attempt to balance our needs for activity, and emotional connection; mental stimulation and spiritual practice, then we are like a perfect pasta. Balanced and soul filling.

So this is what we strive for. We try to let there be spaces in the togetherness of our pasta and sauce - we combine just enough of one with the other to let each stand on its own. And we should be able to taste both in each bite. One bright, tangy, herbaceous and well seasoned; one lithe and slippery with just the right amount of bite. And when all is balanced we can taste the winds of heaven that Gibran wrote of, dancing joyfully between.


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