Carrot Salad || TENDING the TABLE

Some people are lucky enough to know at an early age what they want to do with their lives. Others struggle for years to find something fulfilling that draws on their strengths and challenges their weaknesses. We are taught to follow our dreams and never settle, but we’re also advised to persevere in the face of adversity. What happens when these two axioms conflict? How do we reconcile a desire for happiness with the struggles that often lead to happiness and transformation?

Last night, after one of “those” days (you know what I’m talking about), we met some friends for drinks. We sat around the fire, warming our cheeks, sipping cold drinks and savoring roasted chickpeas and marinated olives. We took turns contemplating how to move forward with grace and happiness. Rule number one: Always frame things in the positive. Rule number two: Never underestimate the power of good friends, honest conversation and a little hard cider.

I feel blessed to finally know what I want to do and am eager and excited to see how my work evolves. But I am also witnessing my husband’s struggle on a daily basis. It’s funny how, as partners, we seem to take turns feeling happy or sad, fulfilled or discontented. There is a paradoxical beauty in the way we can be there for each other in these times of suffering again and again. But there are also times when supporting someone means stepping back and letting go of trying to help. It’s a hard thing to remember and even harder to do, but after seven years I’m finally getting there.

So today, instead of worrying, I’m making carrot salad.

Carrot Salad || TENDING the TABLE

Carrot Salad || TENDING the TABLE

CARROT SALAD + DATES AND MINT

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

3 carrots, grated

8 dates, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup mint, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 cup chickpeas (optional)

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

PROCEDURE

Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, cumin, cinnamon and salt in a jar and shake well to mix. Mix the carrots, dates, mint and cilantro in a bowl. Add the dressing and toss to combine.