When is a virtue a vice?
For my sister’s 70th Birthday Celebration this weekend, I needed to take some savoury and some sweet contributions – I’d made some delicious anchovy pin-wheels for Christmas, which were a great success and relatively easy to make again…. and then found a yummy sounding recipe for little shortbread balls with lemon curd in the middle. They proved to be quite fiddly in the making, and were finished off by dipping the balls in slimy egg white and then dessicated coconut – I won’t confess to how messy I got: about the same as when I attempted to make scotch eggs! Anyway I digress, or maybe procrastinate, because actually there’s a real confession to come.
Born in the war, and growing up with food rationing cards and a culture of “Make Do and Mend” and “Waste Not, Want Not”, I have remained very frugal and thrifty in all areas (my children have at times used the word mean!) I have been grateful for my parents teaching me how to budget, and only buy what I can pay for at the time; to switch the lights off when leaving the room for another; to not leave the tap running whilst cleaning my teeth; to mend things rather than throw them away. In a world today with diminishing resources, saving energy and recycling are commendable; and with so much in the media about the 8.3 million tonnes per year of food and drink waste generated by households in the UK, the equivalent to 330 kg per year for each household in the UK (£700 worth!), or just over 6 kg per household per week, I feel glad of my ingrained teaching.
BUT…the coconut I used for my cooking was old, in fact it was yellow, but because I MUSTN’T waste anything, I didn’t use the fresher packet, and although the shortbread balls looked lovely, they tasted definitely rancid – very very sad! As the Lord pointed out to me the next morning, that word “mustn’t” controlled me, imprisoned me – I wasn’t free to choose what to do in that instance. And far from being commendable to use that old coconut up, to do so was pretty silly. And that led to a time of thinking through how many other “mustn’ts” and “shoulds” and “should nots” from the past still held me in their grip. How about you?