The Good Foods' Blog

Dodging Coconuts Part 3: Preparation and Lasagna

This post was written by guest blogger Sylvia Lovely, a Lexington restauranteur, radio show host, author, speaker and teacher for our upcoming workshop based on this blog, happening September 4th. If you missed her previous Dodging Coconuts posts, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

I am not a cook. I joke that Chef Jeremy Ashby, my colleague and co-owner of Azur Food Group, cooks for me—why should I cook when I am the beneficiary of his culinary skills? However, occasionally, I get the bug to try out this cooking schtick that has people glued to Food Network, subscribing to recipe services and fantasizing about opening their own place someday. (Note: talk to me first!) 

Browsing through one of the ubiquitous food mags at the checkout counter, I spy one of those glossed up food “porn” photos—I am hooked. It’s time to make some lasagna! I find a recipe and buy top-of-the-line ingredients to offset the possibility that I’d screw something up—hoping that at least it will be tasty.

It took at least three different stations and multiple mixing bowls and skillets (cast iron of course) along with some red sauce, two kinds of meat, spices, ricotta, eggs and noodles (Oh My!). Finally, my masterpiece is pulled together and ready for the oven and the homage of my family—as they would cheerily eat this delicious dish, I would take a bow at having defied expectations of my potential! 

WAIT A MINUTE! Why are those noodles over on the counter and not in my meticulously layered meat sauce, my ricotta sauce and… Frantically, I try to thread the noodles into the squishy, meaty, red saucy, cheesy mush only to be reminded of the old saying “making that happen is like pushing a wet noodle up a hill.” I had failed at pretty, but my lasagna “hash” tasted pretty good—and that was always my back-up goal. As my mom would say, “it all goes to the same place.”     

But what does lasagna and cooking have to do with Dodging Coconuts and building resilience through the four P’s (finding PURPOSE, the subject of my most recent Good Foods’ blog, PREPARATION, the subject of this one and PLANNING and PERSPECTIVE – coming in anticipation of my September 4 workshop, “Dodging Coconuts – Building Resilience in Challenging Times”)?

We do all within our power to be prepared for life in the mid-21st century and we can still fall short. At the same time being prepared, even in the midst of our human infallibility, can offset the potential for disaster or provide a soft landing. Who isn’t going to encounter adversity and uncertainty at some point in life?—mistakes far beyond just leaving the noodles out of lasagna, another happy accident that has now taken its place in my family’s lore.

We accept that being PREPARED for today’s world is key to a good and meaningful life if done right. It supports us in fulfilling our PURPOSE and not being derailed by what appears to be a million rabbit holes into which we can fall even before we pour our morning coffee. How distracting is that?! So, what are the steps?

To be PREPARED for the world today begins with understanding it, caring for it and knowing our place as agents in making it better. It is about understanding that the coconuts flying at us come in equal measure, and some hit on a more personal level either because of our work or just because the universe is often arbitrary in choosing its targets. 

The world has changed since “man” landed on the moon, creating the unprecedented high winds and thus more flying coconuts. We responded 50 years ago as a community, inspired and believing in possibilities. It is difficult to imagine what in today’s fractured world could unite us in such a way. Today we have more “friends” on social media but “friend” means something entirely different when we don’t even know our next-door neighbors. We are often bewildered and lonely.

So, how to become PREPARED? By reaching inside with a commitment to do so. That is all that has ever worked. Back to cooking, I’ve likened the hyper-foodie-ism of today with something more important and deeper than the question of “what or where am I eating tonight?” Cooking represents the ultimate in PREPARATION. It is about control with an asterick. You do all you can—buy the ingredients, mix them up. You perhaps take a risk along the way to add a spice or take something away. Or, perhaps you forgot something essential like noodles. The result can be disastrous or not, as with my messy lasagna. What it provides is yet another opportunity to try again and hopefully improve over time. As the patty cake song goes, “pat it and prick it and mark it with an ‘B’ and put in it the oven for Baby, (family) and me.” It is that simple—has always been and will always be.  

Join us on Wednesday, September 4 at the Co-op for an introductory seminar on how to incorporate a simple formula into your daily life that can bring a sense of fulfillment. You can find tickets and information here. Let’s create a community together! 

Sylvia Lovely has a passion for helping others find the sweet spot in their lives. She has developed Dodging Coconuts and her four P’s as a template that contemplates that in good times, coconuts nourish, but in high winds, they become flying missiles of destruction. “That we are overwhelmed with life in the mid-21st century is an understatement. In a world of social media, people empowered to speak their minds in whatever way possible, and technology and gadgets that control us as even as we embrace them in hopes of greater efficiency and effectiveness, it’s easy to get lost,” says Sylvia. She has dedicated herself to sorting through the noise to get to the heart of what matters in life and is excited to share her methods for finding peace and balance. We hope you can join her for her first “Dodging Coconuts” seminar at the Co-op on September 4th. In addition to being an author, speaker and teacher, Sylvia is one of four owners of Azur Food Group and a co-host along with Chef Jeremy Ashby and well known Tony “Twitch” Longo of Z-Rock 103.3 on Food News and Chews Radio airing from 1-2 pm every Saturday on WVLK 590.