By Bonnie Fishman / San Francisco Bay Area
I am a self-proclaimed busybody. When I was growing up, my mom would say “Don’t be such a busybody.” I heard her but I really didn’t get it until later in life. I am a BUSYBODY! I’m involved in lots of activities for a retired person, keeping my mind and body busy. The real truth is that I’m busy in my life and those of others.
My curiosity about the world has caused me to want to know just about everything. But I also want to know everything about everyone else. Ask my husband or my kids. I play 20 Questions for real! Where did you go? Who did you see? How was the weather? How was the food? How was the concert? Did so-and-so get that new job? Did Joe Schmo actually move away? You get the picture.
My daughter used to think that I was spying on her with these questions. Not really. I was just curious. This brings me to the present. I’ve been working really hard at “staying in my own lane.” It’s their problem, not mine and not for me to say. Is my friend’s constant complaining a concern of mine? No, it’s her problem. Do my kids ever make a choice that I wouldn’t have made? Of course, but it’s their problem.
Stay in your own lane! It’s really liberating when you stop believing that it’s necessary to manage everyone else’s life. Try it. See how it feels. Let’s use a hula hoop as a visual tool. You start to get into your spouse’s business. Put that hula hoop around you and zip it! Your sibling begins to tell you how to live your life. Take that hoop and put it around them, let them see how it feels to stay in their own lane.
And doesn’t everybody think they’re an expert on everything? It’s one thing to have those thoughts but not a good idea to open your mouth about it. You’ve heard of a Monday morning quarterback? I’m an everyday quarterback, and not terribly proud of it. I’m learning to keep it to myself. Have my opinion but try not to tell them what to do.
My least favorite phrase is “you should…” OMG, that sets me off. I had an employee for many years who said that at the beginning of a sentence within 10 minutes of me arriving at my shop each day. I could set my watch to it. At the very least, modify it: “You might consider…”. The “should” is really crossing the center lane.
Since I’ve almost given up telling my daughter what to do and proclaiming my thoughts about this and that, we get along great. She can trust that I won’t be intrusive or a busybody in her life. She also doesn’t tell me what to do. We have peaceful exchanges on the phone. What a novelty for many mothers and daughters.
Stay in your own lane!
When I asked my husband, an experienced gardener, which edible plant does not stay in its own lane, he immediately said “mint.”I couldn’t agree more. Be careful where in your yard you plant it, because it is the ultimate busybody. Each year, it comes up fuller and wider than ever. Mint plants travel everywhere!
Despite their propensity to be pushy, mint plants have a venerable history. The name is derived from “mentha,” the Greek word for this genus of plants. They have been around in the Middle East for over 3,500 years. Originally, mint was used for medicinal purposes to help with digestive ailments. Because of its pleasing taste, it has become a flavoring for all kinds of dishes. Greeks use it in recipes for salads, soups, vegetables and lamb. Mint is also widely used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking.
There are many varieties of mint, spearmint and peppermint being the most popular. This refreshing herb doesn’t just wander all over our gardens. It has infiltrated the drug store. Yes, the drug store. Mint flavoring is added to toothpaste, mouthwash, chewing gum, throat lozenges, cough syrup, lip balm and the like. Invasive!
Today’s recipe features mint, adding a bright flavor to a vegetarian quinoa salad. You could make a case for swapping it out and using another herb, but I personally think it goes great with fresh fruit, nuts, and cucumbers. The lemony dressing pulls it all together nicely. As usual, feel free to put your own spin on the basic ingredients.
Write to us here at The Insider and share with us who needs to be put in a hula hoop. I hope it’s not you!
Minty Quinoa Salad with Fruit and Nuts
Yield: 8 servings
1 c. white quinoa
1 3/4 c. water
2 Persian cucumbers, cut into 1/4” dice
1 c. diced strawberries, blotted dry with paper towel
1 navel orange, peeled, pithed, cut into 1/8” pieces
1 c. crumbled feta cheese
3/4 c. chiffonade fresh mint
1/2 c. toasted slivered almonds
1/2 c. lemon vinaigrette, or to taste
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and water. Bring to a boil; turn down to a simmer. Cover; cook 15 minutes. Flake with a fork; put in a bowl.
When the quinoa has cooled, add the remaining ingredients. Adjust the seasoning. Allow flavors to meld for an hour or so. Adjust seasoning again if needed. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
Make Lemon Vinaigrette:
Put garlic, mustard, and seasonings in a clean 12 oz. jar. Add lemon juice and shake. Pour in the oil. Shake vigorously. Just before adding to the salad, shake again.
Bonnie Fishman attended the Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London. Later, she owned and operated Bonnie’s Patisserie in Southfield, Mich. and Bonnie’s Kitchen and Catering in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She has taught cooking for over 35 years and created hundreds of recipes. She is now living in Northern California.