Branching Out!

27 Mar

Since I hit 40 it seems like there are constant pulls and pushes to get me out of my comfort zone. There was my daughter’s acting coach whom commented that my daughter needed to get out of her shell. She was “too polite”. I knew the comment didn’t fall far from the apple tree. Ok – I messed up that metaphor – but the gist is, I knew she thought about what she said before she said it, was overly polite and a bit reserved because I was. My friend, Luann remembers this moment because I had an “ah ha! moment” We were out in LA with our daughters, while they worked with an acting coach. I announced to Luann, well then I am going to get out of my box – and tried to revert to the silly, impulsive, crazy person I once had been.

Yes – had been. Something about the responsibility of being a mom, something about fitting in to Junior League for decades in Texas, about worrying if my kids would get in to the right private school for kindergarten, worrying about being a Doctor’s wife – made me go inside to a quiet place. It was a place where I worked very hard not to be too loud, too crazy, too anything; just fly under the radar. That coach meant the comment for my daughter, but I knew where she had learned that behavior.

There have been many challenges and changes since then that keep pulling me out. I still try to fly under the radar – but I must say when I don’t, when I try something new, I am rarely disappointed by the outcome. And, something about no kids in the house, I keep looking for trying new things, avoiding any ruts. (like the bike ride?) Maybe it is my evasive way of trying not to be bored with myself. Hmmmmm – I am kinda boring, but I digress.

So I announced to my oldest son and my husband – I am going to cook something different every night – no repeats for a year. This pronouncement was met with objections “But what about the fish you make in the foil packets” “You mean paella just once?” So they talked me into 30 different dishes, no repeats. Maybe at the end of the 30 days they will say – “Great idea, keep going” I am at day 4 and no complaints – each dish has been declared “Keeper” by my husband. But coincidental as I am loving the new cooking……

My Aunt in Texas was wandering through googleville and stumbled on Bulgarian restaurants. My mother’s parents both immigrated from Bulgaria (ok technically, my grandfather was from present day Greece) I seized the day, grabbed my husband and went to check it out. It looked like an eastern European restaurant – in Bulgaria, not Denver. Not attractive, but I was already hooked walking by the men on the sidewalk conversing with each other in Bulgarian. A limited menu but everything I was looking for. She had fabulous banitsa (phyllo dough with various fillings) and kebapche and kyufte. And the best was, she invited me back to cook with her. I used to watch my grandmother make phyllo dough, but I never have made any. She makes her own phyllo dough! I will be back. And for Easter she makes a traditional bread I haven’t had in a long time.

Proof it pays to get out of your comfort zone. I found a new restaurant, my husband loved the experience and best of all – I get a cooking lesson on Bulgarian food. Somewhere in heaven my Baba and Dedo are smiling. I can picture my grandfather sitting with his grandchildren in his kitchen pouring each of us a tiny juice glass of his homemade wine.

My Dedo (grandfather)

Testing his muscato wine.

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2 Responses to “Branching Out!”

  1. chemart17 April 28, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    It’s very interesting to read about the progression of the generations, as well as that of motherhood. Now that you’ve devoted so much time on your kids and your family, you can use the time for yourself to discover more about your roots, recipes, hobbies and things you like to do or always wanted to do but never had time for! Have fun “refeathering” your nest, like your title. PS. My great-grandfather also immigrated to America from Bulgaria in the early 1900s.

    • refeatheringthenest April 28, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

      That is about when my grandparents arrived ! My grandfather arrived through Ellis island and my grandmother’s family came through NYC through an immigration agency. Both sides settled in Ohio. Thanks for the connection.

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