There are two steps in every recipe that almost everyone I know takes shortcuts through – and I think they are apt analogies for how we live our lives. And strangely, the two steps are the bookend steps to a recipe.

First, who do you know that always preps the food beforehand? Who do you know that consistently manages to preheat the oven in sufficient time? Prep work for our daily life is not only forgotten, it is a sign that we have too much luxury in time.

On the other hand, whoever lets their cooked meals rest like many meals demand? Who spends time “plating” their food to make it appealing to the eyes alongside the stomach?

So was the struggle to make sure my Stuffed Peppers turned out today.

Stuffed Peppers

Secret Ingredient: boiling the pepper shells into the same water used to cook the rice to infuse them with pepper taste. Oh, and adding the leftover balsamic steak sauce for a splash of umami.

Music Accompaniment: Dave Matthews Band is a good pepper match.

We live so much in the moment, yet not tasting it deeply, inhaling the now – and yet we also do not spend time preparing our plans for life, letting it come to us, not the other way around. To continue yesterday’s comments, life is a river on which our identity travels. We do not control the current, but we can decide our intent. And intent is all about planning. I look around and intent appears to be largely missing in many people’s life.

And if intent is the chopping prep work and oven preheating, then savoring is the plating of the dishes. We run from event to event with little intent, but also little savoring of the completion of an event.

I’ve learned the hard way that meat must rest after grilling to reclaim their juices and spread evenly the heat of the event. The resting period forces you take a breath and appreciate the action of cooking. They say that embracing delayed gratification is a key step in childhood development and a sign of higher intelligence. We need more of it in our lives, with emphasis on the delay – like proper whiskey aging.

Peppers and Caprese

Ha! – what baloney all this talk is! Really? Savor the moment in a food blog? Live with intent? Well, of course – that’s all obvious. This is all self-evident self-help filled with aspirations but otherwise ridiculous in the day and age when things are at a fast pace and we don’t have the luxury to execute without major lifestyle changes. Nice to haves, but otherwise impractical in the modern day.

But that image of a well-seasoned hunk of grilled meat resting, reclaiming and redistributing its juices before being devoured is stuck in my mind – I know there is a new, nonobvious lesson here.

In the meantime, I’ll end with this alliteration: May your life be seasoned with intent and savored with post-coital satisfaction.