From: Dare to Prepare!
SERGEI: Often, when teaching food preparation classes, I notice that most of my students cling to recipes and request exact proportions of ingredients. Even though raw-food recipes are particularly flexible and experimentation can even improve the recipe, students still hesitate to take a playful approach with food preparation. For example, when I demonstrate how to make a green smoothie, I often use a combination of spinach, mango, and water, because these ingredients are readily available and excitingly delicious. However, in one workshop I was unable to find these ingredients and had to substitute with bananas and kale. My students loved the smoothie and requested the recipe. I made a point to mention that there are tastier recipes for a green smoothie; however, it seems my words fell on deaf ears, because months later I still received e-mails from people who, in fear of trying anything new, exclusively drank the banana/kale smoothie. To my surprise, most of my students did not stray from that recipe. While I can understand the fear behind attempting something new (there’s the chance of wasting time and ingredients, and getting unsatisfying results), raw recipes allow much room to experiment, often improving the dish.
Every individual—whether man, woman, or child—is an amazingly powerful being, capable of happiness and health. We were built with a brain, a fabulous body, and an intuition to use as tools that aid us in our growth. When properly used, these tools have the power to enhance an individual’s existence in the best, most productive way. We are not taught early enough how to use what we were given, which is why we cling to rules, regulations, and expert opinions. As with any tangible, physical tool that can be held in our hands, our intangible, invisible instruments cannot help us unless we begin to use them. I propose that, together, we begin activating these powers; for they are our maps to life.
There are certain laws that we need to follow to maintain order in our lives. Likewise, there are many that can be disregarded. Changing a recipe a bit doesn’t hurt anyone. By adding one extra pinch of cumin to make a better-tasting cracker, we can practice conversing with our inner selves, thereby expanding our comfort zones. I have found that the more I experiment, the more comfortable I become with using my invisible tools, and thus the more empowered I become.
We live in a society that has either forgotten the value of empowered people or simply strives to suppress individuals from manifesting their strength. Today’s society is so destructive that people no longer feel strong or comfortable enough to rely on themselves. Our educational system has us convinced that we cannot function successfully without help from authority figures. The current educational system grabs children at an early age and begins educating them to properly conform and comply with orders from people who are older, smarter, and more experienced than they. Instead of helping our children develop a sense of independence, we hand them off to their first kindergarten teachers and instruct them to listen to the educator because he or she has many years of training and therefore knows best. Thus, we come to learn that our bones cannot be strong without milk or healthy without meat, and that chemical fertilizers enrich food quality, as well as countless other myths that we cling to until our dying days.
If we live our lives believing that we are incapable of creating even a simple raw recipe on our own, then how can we do anything that requires more responsibility? I remember one instance when I was scheduled to demonstrate how to make carob truffles but was notified moments before class that none of my recipe ingredients had been delivered. I quickly ran to the kitchen, grabbed whatever I could find, and proceeded to demonstrate making truffles with ingredients I had never used before. My heart pounded anxiously as I passed out samples to a crowd of fifty, hoping my concoction didn’t taste horribly bad. To my surprise, the room resonated with audible yum
’s and wow
’s. Everyone was ecstatic. The “Sweet and Sour Coconut Truffles” recipe I invented that day is in the dessert section of this book (page 111). However, don’t let this recipe limit your imagination.
Relying on yourself is fun and refreshing! The more I rely on myself, the more surprised I am at not only how easy it is but also how quickly I master things I never suspected I could. I encourage you to use the recipes in this book merely as a guide to creating your own cuisine.
Excerpted from Fresh by Sergei Boutenko and Valya Boutenko. Copyright © 2008 by Sergei and Valya Boutenko. Excerpted by permission of North Atlantic Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.