I was musing today, as I am prone to when my mind flits idly over various topics, about fear, the Fear of Uncertainty. I don't think we fear life's up and downs; we treat that as inevitable. What we can't come to terms with, and hence worry about, is the uncertainty of events in life.
I am not one who believes in psychics and clairvoyants. My contention being, how can a person who has never set eyes on me, let alone exchanged a few words, be capable of predicting what lay ahead in my life which I really choose to lead?! But, I come from a country that does believe, to the point of entrusting faith and major life decisions, in these "life-readers".
I have wondered on and off about the reasons that drive people to such belief. One theory I came up was to find a scapegoat, a reason outside of self for failure. Calling a misfortune, destiny, feels like applying a balm to a wounded soul. There is a sense of control being elsewhere and hence how is one to blame for his misfortune.
Life has cruised reasonably well enough for me to mock such belief as tenuous in the face of rationality. There is no such thing as fate and pre-destined course of life. I still believe that, but, now, I think, I do empathise with those who seek outside help and relief for their "downs" in life. Life doesn't happen in equations. 2 + 2 isn't always 4; you can rant and rave all you want but if it wants to be 5 one day and 0 another, there is, sometimes, simply nothing you can do about it...
But then, I countered, people believe even in good times. So my theory definitely had a flaw. I pondered more and deeper. My bathrooms breaks became longer. Recently, I settled upon another theory, viz. the fear of unertainty; the uncertainty of not knowing how long until dawn breaks and how long the day will last.
In other words, the lack of control on when my suffering ends and how long I will be able to enjoy my good fortune? In a perpetual quest for these answers and a semblence of control, belief in palm-reader, crystal gazers, palmists, numerology "experts", josiers etc. has exponentially increased to the point of these practices being professionally lucrative.
Sometime back, Alessio mentioned reading up about palmistry. Curious, as I ever am, I decided to take the bait and googled up palm reading and the various lines that criss cross a human palm. Navigating through the head, life, heart, career and other lines and the mounds of many significances, I realised, there was little clarity or unanimity on the subject between the various sources and I even got conflicting reads of my hand. One could argue that it was an error of my inexperience but I figure there is something funny if the way your life supposedly turns out is markedly varied in different interpretations.
Anyway, I realised much of what we do and seek is to mitigate that irrational fear of the uncertain. Retirement accounts are much in the same vein but in just a more rational domain. At this point, I can't help but question, how putting one's trust in a fund manager of a large multi-billion dollar mutual fund is considered rational but playing the same gamble with life is considered superstitious and silly...
I don't know, but it offers much food for ponder. If you have thoughts on this, I would love to hear...
In the meantime, I leave you with a tart there is nothing uncertain about. Rhubarb, cherries, touch of summer savory, almonds and home made crust. Where is the irrationality in that?! :)
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Rhubarb and Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes
1 cup of rhubarb, diced to 1/4 inch
1 cup of cherries, pitted and halved
2 T summer savory, minced
1 T Kirsch
2 T sugar
Mix all of them together and refrigerate overnight.
1-1/2 cups flour, sifted
1-2 T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 T cold butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 egg yolk
3 - 4 T ice cold water
Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the yolk and trickle in the water to make a rough dough. Flatten the dough to a disc and refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes.
2 oz almond paste
1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
3 T butter
1/2 tsp almond extract
Whip all the ingredients into a paste. Refrigerate for a few minutes.
To assemble, roll out the sugar dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out 4 inch rounds off the dough. Spread a generous teaspoon of frangipane mixture on each round, leaving a 1/2 inch border. In the centre place a tablespoon of the rhubarb cherry mixture.
Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, until the crust is brown and the frangipane puffed. Cool and serve with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and tea.