Dinner for one should be fun and easy to make. I have fond memories of a delicious salad I used to order: spinach and fresh strawberries, feta cheese and candied nuts. When I came across this similar recipe for Strawberry Spinach Salad from Emma's Little Kitchen, I couldn't wait to try it.
If you check out the recipe you'll notice it serves 4-6, which is 4-6 times 1, the only person around to eat the salad this evening. Despite the fact that my amazing Paprika Recipe App will scale the recipe to a quarter, giving me the exact number of grams of each ingredient to put in the ideal salad for one, I decided to estimate amounts off the cuff. After all, it's a salad. Exact proportions are only a matter of taste, right?
The result of my hasty estimation:
If it isn't obvious from the photo, it was certainly apparent from the taste: the cheese and nuts (and to some extent the strawberries) were way to much for the amount of spinach in my bowl. When not paying careful attention, I had generously piled on the yummiest ingredients- the parts of the salad that really excited me- in complete disregard for the salad as a whole. So much nuts and cheese made the salad a bit too dry and salty.
Mae West tells us that too much of a good thing can be wonderful. I say any amount of a good thing can be wonderful- until it isn't.
There's a sneaky line between wonderful and not, between wellbeing and not. It's in a slightly different place from person to person, and the only way I know to find it is through paying attention to my personal experience. Sometimes I worry I'm tossing too much of the yummy stuff into my days- too much sofa time with a book and a kitty in my lap. And, since I really do enjoy worrying, at other times I worry my life is too much spinach- too many days that are just checks off my todo list, leaving me low on energy and feeling like there's no fun in my life.
Wellbeing is a dynamic balance, kind of like making a good salad- only without a recipe. The best way to figure out the balance of ingredients in a salad is to eat it. The best way to figure out balance between what I should do and what I want to do, is to experience how I feel as my days, weeks, and years weave work and play. When eating salad alone, I can sneak extra spinach leaves onto the plate as I eat, to get the proportions back in balance. And as I try to find the balance of wellbeing, I get a new opportunity every morning, every hour, every breath, to adjust and recalibrate.
Once brought back into balance, the Strawberry Spinach Salad was delicious. For convenience I subbed balsamic vinegar for champagne vinegar, and sesame seeds for the poppy seeds. But the recipe impressed me enough that I'd splurge for the champagne vinegar next time, just to try.