Not Perfect

It might surprise you to hear me say this, but I am not perfect.  I’m going to take a guess that you aren’t either.  And you know what, that’s ok.  We can still be healthy.  Of course there’s a story that goes along with that nugget of insight.

This morning, I decided that I wanted potato pancakes, aka latkes, for dinner tonight.  And I don’t know where to get such food in Nashville and, even if I did, it likely wouldn’t be gluten free.  So, it was up to me to satisfy my craving.  I did some research and decided that I’d make one batch of sweet potato pancakes and one with regular potatoes.

A note: I like my potato pancakes thin and a little crispy.  As opposed to the kind that are crispy on the outside but more like mashed potatoes on the inside.  Personal preference, but obviously I was going to try to make the kind that I liked.

My google researched provided me with many recipe options that used both types of potatoes and I was excited to make them.  That is, I was excited until I started.  I did the sweet potatoes first.  That might have been my first mistake.  Anyway, I followed a recipe from FoodNetwork.com (a generally reliable source) that had positive ratings and user comments.  The recipe called for 1 egg per every 2 sweet potatoes (in addition to the flour – I used Gluten Free – and other ingredients).  I happily set to shredding the sweet potatoes in my food processor and drained them to add to the other ingredients.  It did not take me long to realize, however, that the ratios were WAY off.  There was nothing binding the potato strings and onion together.  Unfortunately, I only had one egg left (which I needed for my regular potatoes), so I couldn’t just add more to help it bind.  Instead, I ended up with a lot of sweet potato hash browns.  They tasted OK (though dry, IMO), P ate a bunch but it really wasn’t what I was looking for.

Having learned a lesson about the necessity of binding agents in my first try, I used a different recipe for the regular latkes.  Just looking at the recipe, I knew that the ratios of ingredients made more sense: 1 potato, 1 egg, more flour.  And when I put the mixture in the pan with oil, they held together like actual potato pancakes should.  Woo hoo!  So that was exciting.   I used a smaller pan (the bigger one soaking from its sweet potato adventure), so it took a few batches for them to be ready.  I thought they turned out pretty well.  Not quite crispy enough, but tasty, especially once I covered them in natural applesauce + sauerkraut (it’s a new obsession).  But they weren’t good enough for me to share the recipe – it needs a little tinkering before it gets there.  I’ll share it once it’s ready.

At this point, if you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering why I bothered to tell you all of this if I’m not sharing a recipe at the end.  Here’s the thing: I can be a bit of a perfectionist.  As in, it’s not worth doing if I don’t do it right and if I can’t do it right, I’m not going to do it.  And sometimes (a lot of times) cooking requires a leap of faith that’s really difficult for a perfectionist like me.  I kind of wanted to give up after figuring out that the sweet potato ones weren’t working.  Especially after looking around the disaster that was my kitchen.  But I made the best of it, made them into something else, and moved forward.

Part of being healthy, physically and mentally, is the ability to move forward.  Not get hung up on the little imperfections or the mistakes you might make and just keep going.  Eating a piece of candy doesn’t mean that your diet is totally blown, it means that you don’t eat a second piece of candy.  Skipping a workout today doesn’t mean that you should give up on getting back in shape.  It means that you go back to the gym tomorrow and keep going.  This is something that I struggle with every single day.  And events like tonight’s kitchen adventures remind me of how far I’ve come and that I can keep moving forward, even when I’m not perfect.

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