One of my favorite quotes from the movie America’s Sweethearts is from the director Hal Weidmann, who is played brilliantly by Christopher Walken. “I wasn’t looking for it. It came to me like a bus in the street . . . or the woman who changes the flowers at our desert house.” I’m not sure about that woman, but I am sure that this quote describes how I came upon From the ground up Cauliflower Stalks. They were arranged neatly there on the grocery store shelf, perfectly poised to catch my eye.
Again, I wasn’t looking for them, but I picked up a bag to examine it. The nutrition label didn’t have any red flags (at least none that were obvious to me), and the price seemed fine, given the size of the bag and likely volume of contents. I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower; it’s a particular bland vegetable. But what convinced me to give it a try was that magical word on the front of the bag — cheddar. I love cheese. I can’t get enough of cheese. In fact, if heaven doesn’t have cheese, I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell. I just gotta have cheese in my life.
But what amazed me even more than my love of cheese amazes some was how good these cauliflower-based snacks are. I’m talking addictive levels of good! I couldn’t keep my hand out of the bag. And there was no sense in pouring just a small bowl to “limit my serving size” because, as soon as my small bowl was empty (which took something like 30 seconds), I was off to the kitchen to grab the bag. The only thing holding me back from consuming the entire bag in one sitting was the thought that I could have some tomorrow if I stop now. This is the only reason the bag lasted three days.
For me, cauliflower has always been one of those vegetables low on the pecking order — until now! If you’re looking for a new “healthy” snack to try, put your money here. You won’t be disappointed. And if you are, just give me the rest of your bag.
Yet I found far more congruence than divergence between our two belief systems. The more I read, the more fairly accurate descriptions I found of what I have come to see as my own beliefs as I have tested and changed and refined them over the years. Take this quote from Bruce Lee as an excellent example:
I can totally vouch for the concept of bending like a reed in the wind in the face of conflict because I have used it to handle conflict in a spirit of peace and fairness. The wind can blow the reed down, but the wind doesn’t break the reed. Likewise, adversity can blow us down, but it breaks us only if we choose to let it break us. Choose to be like the reed in the wind, and it won’t break you.
From perspectives on understanding oneself and one’s place in nature to ideas on countering racism and relieving stress to learning about the art of fighting without fighting, there’s far too much of what I love in this book to share in the limited space of this review, so I’ll share simply one idea related to my future career field: education. Here’s what Bruce Lee thought about education:
I find that approach to education fascinating. In the context of that perspective, Bruce Lee devised a four-step process towards educating oneself, which I also endorse.
1. Research your own experience.
2. Absorb what is useful.
3. Reject what is useless.
4. Add what is specifically your own.
Straightforward and very practical, this approach reminds me very much of some advice I once got from my grandfather in a letter (yes, that’s snail mail for you young whipper snappers). He never wrote much of anything, and so the one letter I got from him I eagerly received. I don’t remember much of what the letter had to say, but I do remember how it ended. “I don’t know if anything I have said is any good for you, but if it is, keep it. Throw the rest away.”
Most of what I found in Little’s book is good for me. It expands my mind and provides alternative perspectives from which to view the world and my place in it. And it has inspired me to pursue studying the martial arts as a way to discover more of myself and how to express it. Though I don’t agree with everything in the book, I do recommend it for others. 4 out of 5 stars.
What is a deal breaker is the quality of pancake it produced. You don’t need an egg, although you are free to add one. All you really need is water. After mixing, you’re supposed to let it set for 5 minutes before pouring onto the griddle. The pancakes cooked up fine, but the finished product is much more like a mutated crepe than a pancake. Pancakes should be fluffy, not spongy. The flavor is okay, but the texture just overrides the okay flavor to provide a disappointing taste experience.
I tried different variations — using milk instead of water both with and without egg — all to no avail. I have a mind to try using a little oil, no egg, and water. But I’m not very hopeful. My experience thus far has certainly been far below expectations. I’m still sold on King Arthur flour, as I continue to experience great baking with it. But their pancake mix? No thanks. I’ll pass and stick with my Krusteaz, a wonderful product from Seattle that has never disappointed me. If it’s not broke, don’t try to fix it.
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