I’m going to be 25 this June. I’m still single with no prospects and no dependents. I’m renting a room in an overpriced Bay Area apartment. My mom and stepdad are within “I’m crying on the phone because there’s a spider in my bathtub” range. My mother was 25 years old when she had me. My mother was married; my mother owned a house and she lived further than 45 minutes away from her parents. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that part of me gets overwhelmed when I think about how far behind I feel in relation to this. When I was half my age I would have told you I planned to be having my first child by now too. At 20 I would have told you I should be getting married at least around now with plans to have a child in two years or so. Now standing here at the precipice of being halfway through my twenties I feel like marriage, kids, the picket fence…they are years away—if ever.
Despite the fact that the only thing I know I can plan is for life to upset my plans, I still have all these guidelines for the love and marriage thing. The underlying strategy to these guidelines follows that old idiom “only fools rush in.” Marriage would follow years of dating—children should be held off until the marriage is at least two years tested. A home should only be bought in a neighborhood that’s been thoroughly vetted for these theoretical children’s future education from K through 12. Definitely can’t have a kid until I’m ready to simultaneously start saving for their college fund! All these well intentioned plans that are meant to keep me safe and secure and probably will ensure I never do any of the above.
At what point does this need for security become an excuse to not do any of it? Is the truth really that I’m just bloody effing terrified of these very permanent life changes? Will I ever be as brave as my mother was at my age?
I mean I say I’m focusing on my career. It’s true but if I really wanted to, if I really wanted to I could set aside the money and raise a kid. I could do it. I’m physically at the right stage. I’ve got a real job with real future prospects. I’m just too damn selfish, too damn scared and well I would ideally like to have a life partner to raise a child with so I’m not really equipped but still…I could do it on my own. Is there an opposite phrase for “Only Fools Rush In” something like “and even bigger fools need to be pulled in kicking and screaming?” I know plenty of people who do…well the opposite of what I think should be done and they do it quite well.
Am I just making excuses hidden under the guise of wisdom? What do you think? Do you have similar “rules” for planning your future? Oddly enough this all popped into my head because sometimes when I go for a run at work I find reruns of Roseanne on and I’ll watch them. As far as sitcoms go this show really was something special. It was actually clever, had continuity and managed to be thought provoking at times. It wasn’t just some crass weekly potato about blue collar, white trash in Middle America. The opening is always the family seated around a dinner table, interacting and loving each other. I do have a craving for that in my life.
But until I’m ready to give up these selfish ways of my single youth, I can only supply the family meal and not the family. That’s where this dish comes in—nothing screams Sunday night family dinner more than a classic from my cultural heritage: Beef Stroganoff. The Jewish side of my family comes from the Ukraine/Russia Ashkenazi tribe and despite having never been to the “mother country” I seem to have retained some sort of cultural tastebuds. My passion for fermented vegetable juices, cabbage soups, beets…not exactly American. This main course will appeal to non-Russian Jews though as it’s really just a big pot of pasta, meat and creamy mushroom sauce. In fact it should appeal to everyone BUT jews since as we all know mixing dairy and meat is decidedly not-kosher. Oops. Well like I said…I’m Jewish. I don’t keep Kosher year round…and I’m fairly certain Nana would approve of this meal. “If it’s clean, it’s Kosher”
The flavor is OFF THE CHARTS out of this world amazing. I know it’s far from the healthy food I eat most of the time, but this is exactly the sort of thing I crave when I really want to indulge once in a while. It’s warm and filling in your stomach. A more “Russian” approach might be to spike the sauce with vodka instead of red wine, but I guess the one thing I didn’t inherit in my cultural genetics was a love for that fermented potato juice. It’s just…gross. I think the red wine adds more body to the sauce–some cognac would be nice too. Play with it if you like but just remember this: it’s not stroganoff without the mushrooms. Yes mushrooms. It’s just not stroganoff without them.
“Rush-in” Beef Stroganoff
An Olivia Original – to serve 4 Read more