Aah…It never gets old, that pure exuberance of being a student again. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been denied an academic environment for three years. Or perhaps it’s just because I’m such a nerd. But I really, really relish the mere ability to be a student.
This thrill comes from such simple pleasures—walking across the campus in the early morning in long, hurried strides, sipping from a carry-mug of strong coffee, and dodging the cyclists zooming pass in all directions. Smiling and waving at familiar faces, taking notes during lectures, and listening to the clicks of pens and tapping of keyboards in the background while the professor drones on and on for two hours.
I can’t explain it. But it’s these small things that really makes me happy, and strangely proud of be a student. You know what I mean? It’s that sense of belonging. After practically being a hermit for several years, I have learned never to take that feeling of belonging for granted.
Remember my New Year prayer topic to find at least ONE reason to give thanks to God every night? Well, tonight, I give thanks to God for letting me belong. I thank God that I belong to this school. I thank God that I have a social group I belong to wherever I go. I thank God that I belong to my family, who will always love me for who I am. I thank God that I belong to Him, forever and ever.
Sounds like such a simple, obvious thing to give thanks for, isn’t it? But you see, sometimes I get this pressure, this sense of need to stand out. There seems to be a natural tendency in every human being to want to be special. And because of that…we sometimes…do weird things in order to feel special.
But you know what? It’s not about doing something extraordinary that makes you special. It’s not about doing something great that makes you outstanding. Because to be special is just to…well, be. We all already are special. We have our own special appearance, our own unique backgrounds, stories, circumstances, characters, talents, and problems. No need to go out of our way to do something brilliant; you just end up looking specially…idiotic.
During the New Years sermon, my dad (the pastor) said something that really touched me: “Don’t strive to do something great. Strive to do something important.”
You don’t have to do something grandiose and striking to do something important. You can do something important by just being within that community to which you belong: Just enjoying whatever you’re doing, with a joyful and peaceful heart, is important. Just smiling at your neighbor, or kissing your mom on the cheek, is important.
A person, who smiles and is happy and delightful to everyone in her own “mediocre” life? Well, that to me is a truly special someone, don’t you think?
And of course, you know I’m gonna tie this somehow to food. You know what belongs to each other? Eggs and potatoes. The classic American breakfast, isn’t it? I’ll bet you can find scrambled eggs and hash potatoes in every breakfast menu. So what makes one dish special from the same dish at another restaurant?
The way they are prepared, of course. Eggs and potatoes may be the same primary ingredients, but there are so many other factors that inputs its unique flavor into the dish: the seasonings. The quality of the ingredients. The technique. The love and care of the cook. They’re all small, subtle factors, but they all add up to impart a greater, more important purpose: to delight and feed the eater. Simple ingredients, but performs an important job, don’t they?
Anyway, here’s my take on the classic egg and potatoes:
Green eggs on Mini Potato-Gratin
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon pesto
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 potatoes, sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 cup vintage white cheddar Cabot Cheese
- 2 slices of tomatoes
- chopped basil
Beat the eggs together with the pesto and heavy cream. On a pan under low-heat, pour in a bit of oil. Then pour in the pesto-eggs, and stir under low-heat gently, scrambling until cooked but creamy.
Meanwhile, layer the potatoes over a skillet. Cover and cook the skillet under medium heat for a few minutes until the potatoes are half-way cooked through:
Sprinkle on the cheese:
And then pour in 2 tablespoons heavy cream:
Put the skillet in a 375 degree oven and roast until the potatoes are cooked through and the cheese is nicely toasted:
Gently slide the mini potato gratin onto a serving dish. Top with the tomato, then the scrambled green eggs and then sprinkle with basil.
Heh. I think it looked grand. The eggs didn’t turn out as green as I hoped, but I was overall satisfied with the results. The taste is all that matters anyway!
It was delicious. Loved the creaminess of the scrambled eggs and the pesto really jazzed it up.
I used this pesto, which I procured from the Foodbuzz Festival swag bag:
The star of the dish was definitely the potatoes, though. Crisp, cheesy, creamy…Soooo good!
Next time, I’ll try it with a runny egg on top. Mmm….
Question of the day: Do you feel like you belong? In what ways do you think you are special within your own community?