What I didn’t expect in my early twenties.

As a kid, I often imagined myself all grown up. I pictured myself in my mid-twenties, living in my own apartment in a big city, with a successful job, an adorable golden retriever and a bathtub filled with 100 dollar bills. One day, reality got out of bed and proceeded to give me a slap in the face. So without further ado, here are a few things that didn’t turn out the way I expected.

 Not looking like an adult
This is not to say that I get mistaken for a child but …a prepubescent teenager at the least. Whereas this generations 12 year olds are busy looking like young adults, I’m still getting ID’d at the local supermarket for trying to buy a bottle of wine for gods sake.  WHERE IS THE JUSTICE!?

Not being a makeup godess
I have yet to master the fine arts of makeup. Though I can just about manage to put on foundation, blush and mascara, anything beyond that is pushing it. If I try to do anything out of the ordinary or involving more than two eyeshadow colours I tend to end up resembling Ursula from The Little Mermaid. I’ve also pretty much given up on trying to work false lashes for a night out. Most attempts have ended in a tantrum, tears, a faceful of smeared eyeliner and me back in my pyjamas. Ladies, it ain’t pretty.

Not being mature
Wasn’t I supposed to go through a life-changing transformation by now? I thought I’d wake up one day and I don’t know…know how to adult? I’m pretty sure I have the same mental state as I did a few years ago, I’m just better at hiding it. Someone farting? Still hilarious . Getting ‘cooties’ from boys because they are ew? Still a thing.

 Not being able to eat whatever
I know, I was shocked too. Contrary to wishful thinking, one can no longer eat Mcdonalds 5 days a week as well as a variation of sweets and chips without consequences. Now I actually have to TRY make health-conscious choices. When I don’t ( which happens more often than not) at least I feel guilty about it! I am going places.

Not being at the epitome of my party life
I thought finally being legal, I’d go all out. I’d leave my inhibitions behind and spend countless nights partying till dawn. Instead of having my tolerance increase, it has hit rock bottom. When three beers get you borderline drunk, you have a problem. Also, hangovers feel 100 times worse. I don’t know how I ever went out over more than 2 consecutive nights in a row. I can try to stick to wine spritzers all night to minimize the damage but you can bet that I’ll still wake up feeling like my bodys been dragged to hell and back again. Twice.  Plus let’s admit it, the best part of a night out now adays is the kebap on the way home though technically, it could probably be made of carpet and it would still taste bomb.

My love for red wine
Ok I realise I was just whining about hangovers but red wine is love. Women in movies like Sex in the city are portrayed for loving their wine and lots of it. Not that long ago I would have gagged at the thought so I don’t know how I got here, but there’s no going back. A glass of red wine after a stressful week or accompanying me on a night in is like having a warm, emotion filled embrace (in liquid form). Then I pass out, mouth open, hand in spaghetti, feeling like I’m lying in a bed of roses.

Having a schedule
I used to heavily judge those who had a calender and had to ‘check their schedule’ before agreeing to making plans.It sounds so obnoxious , right? I HAVE BECOME THAT PERSON. I probably wouldn’t make it through my semester without ical and god forbid if I lose that planner. I can actually use that pretentious line ‘I’ll pencil you in for Wednesday from 7 to 745pm’ and be dead serious about it. When it comes to brunches with my friends? It takes intense planning and swapping of schedules before we can agree to meet…three weeks later.

Not finding my calling
I have so many talented friends who have really figured out where they are going in life and are headed straight to the top. Me? I’m pretty much just chilling. I don’t quite know what to do with myself just yet. As for exceptional talents, I’m still looking. I can make really ugly facial expressions though? And my eyelids are really pudgy? That must count for something!

So a lot has changed and not everything happened like I thought it would but that is the wonderful thing we call life and as we’ve all figured out, sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.
Have a great weekend!

-A Pearl of the Orient.

 

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Baking bread.

If you have a true appreciation for food, I recommend that you go and watch the Netflix series Cooked by Michael Pollan. ( Side note: Make sure you’ve eaten before-hand because those beautiful visuals make you incredibly hungry. Slobbering is also a possible side-effect.)

The series explores the human history of cooking in regards to the four elements: Earth, Fire, Air and Water and takes us back to the origins of cooking and how it has helped us evolve as a species. It has become increasingly evident that many of us are no longer  interested in where our food comes from and how it is being made as long as it’s tasty and lands on our plate fast.  I too, am guilty of ordering out multiple times a week instead of putting those hands to work. With the food production industry providing quick and delicious alternatives, what need is there to cook?

“When we learned to cook is when we became truly human. But we’ve lost touch, I think, with how that food got to our plates”. –  Michael Pollan.

One of the most eye opening episodes for me was that of Air which revolved around bread, the basic staple of our diet since prehistoric times. I was shocked to realise that I didn’t even know how to make the most basic thing without having to google a recipe because it had always just been there, sitting in its plastic wrapper. Speaking of which, did you know that home-made bread needs about 5 basic ingredients? Now, look at label on the packaging of manufactured bread. How many ingredients can you count? It’s no wonder we’ve become so sensitive to food allergies.

Not only did I come away from that episode with a new found appreciation, love and respect for cooking but also the incredible urge to bake some bread myself and so that’s what I did.

Saturday morning was spent baking a home-made ciabatta and I’ve got to say it was pretty fun. Kneading the dough brought me back to the good old playdough days and I’ll admit I might have eaten some raw …but it tasted so good! My patience was tested while waiting for the dough to rise but it was all worth it. I’d forgotten how satisfying it is to make something from scratch and then have someone to share it with. It was perfect; fresh and toasty out of the oven and paired with fresh prosciutto, tomatoes, mozzarella and olive oil.
If you’d like to give it a go yourself, here’s the awesome recipe I used!

Easy Homemade Ciabatta

Author: The Crepes of Wrath

Prep time:  2 hours 30 mins
Cook time:  40 mins
Total time:  3 hours 10 mins
Serves: 1 large loaf
Perfectly crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside homemade ciabatta bread.
Ingredients
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1¾ cup + 2 tablespoons warm (115 degrees F) water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Pour in the warm water, and beat for 5 solid minutes, either with a mixer or a wooden spoon. If you have a dough hook, use it and knead the mixture for an additional five minutes, until the dough is well combined, otherwise just keep beating with the wooden spoon.
  2. When the dough is well combined, flour your hands, stick ’em in a bowl, and pull parts of the dough up and slap it back down into the bowl. Do this for another 5 minutes. This will push air bubbles into the dough and create nice holes when it bakes.
  3. Oil a large bowl, then plop the dough into that bowl. Drizzle your olive oil over the top of the dough, then cover the bowl in plastic wrap and cover with at towel. Place the bowl in a warm spot and allow it to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then sprinkle it with flour. Flour your hands, and shape the dough into a long loaf, about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with a just touch of flour for strictly aesthetic purposes (trust me, it looks pretty), then bake for 35-40 minutes, until the bread is lightly golden. If you tap the bread, you should feel like it’s hollow – that’s how you know it’s ready! Place the bread on a cooling rack and allow it to cool down for a minimum of 20-30 minutes.

Have a lovely week!

– A Pearl of the Orient.