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Photographs by Meadow Linn

Monday, July 27, 2015

Being Right: What’s It Worth to You?


How important is it to you to be right? Have you ever experienced that whoosh of adrenaline when your thoughts, feelings, or predictions are proven correct? I was right. You were wrong. I have devoted a great deal of energy in hot pursuit of these seemingly magical words. In these moments of righteous indignation, I hold my head up high, puff out my chest, and feel immense pride.

Being right can feel pretty darn good, but what is the cost of privileging it above all else? What do we miss out on experiencing? What do we give up in order to have this feeling? What avoidable circumstances do we create to make sure that our thoughts are justified? How much joy and harmony do we trade for this smug feeling?

There are times in life to hold steadfast, but often there’s more to be gained by letting go. When a need to be right is strong enough, we can even create circumstances to prove our point, which may not be worth it in the end. This happened to me when I was a teenager.

My mom was unable to pick me up from an event, so she arranged for a taxi to drive me home. I protested with all my might. “Please, please, please pick me up!! Can’t so-and-so come get me? Please don’t make me take a taxi.” (I wasn’t keen on an expensive ride with a stranger.) “What about a bus? Can I take a bus home, Mom? Please!” I probably even petitioned to walk, but that was out of the question since it was miles away, and I was just thirteen years old. My mom assured me it would be fine. She made advanced arrangements with the taxi company.

When it was time for my taxi ride, I waited…and waited. I stood on the curb, twiddling my thumbs and mumbling to myself about how I wished a friend was coming to get me. Finally, the taxi arrived. He was late because he’d been at traffic court. Traffic court! As he zoomed through the parking lot, he told me he wasn’t feeling well. He’d been out late the night before…drinking. He was hungover! As he pressed the gas pedal to make it through a yellow light before it turned red, he asked me where I went to school.

I had a scholarship to a prestigious school, and many people had preconceived notions about the kind of students who attended. So, quietly, I said, “I go to Lakeside.” The-hungover-man-fresh-out-of-traffic-court-who-was-careening-down-the-road said, in his most condescending, disgusted voice, “Oh, you go to Lakeside? What do Mommy and Daddy do?” In my head I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I was right about the taxi!!! I couldn’t wait to tell my mom that I was right and she was wrong.

Although the taxi ride was miserable, there was part of me that was really glad. This way I knew that I’d been right. Had it been easy or maybe even fun, I wouldn’t have been able to feel so righteous, and boy was that a good feeling.

So, I was right. But, was it worth it?

Sometimes being right feels more important than harmony and joy. I read my parents the riot act when I got home, but what did that accomplish? Did I subconsciously go out of my way to create an experience that would justify my aversion to taking the taxi? On one hand, I was an innocent child thrust into an uncomfortable situation, but on the other hand, I was completely complicit in the experience. With each misstep the taxi driver took, the more I was filled with satisfaction. Had I been less determined to prove my mom wrong, I may have actually found the ride humorous. And who’s to say I didn’t manifest the experience. How would it have been different if I’d had a different mindset from the outset? What if I’d decided to make a point of having an amazing experience? Often what we put our intention on comes to fruition. If I’d decided that having a great taxi ride was more important to me than proving to my mom that a taxi was a bad idea, then likely that would have come to pass.

What is your intention for today? Will today be filled with joy, fun, and harmony, or will you choose to be right at the expense of everything else?


Mango Shrimp Cakes with Avocado Aioli

There’s a difference between wanting to be right so badly that you forsake everything else and knowing something to be true (intuition), even if you can’t quite say why or how you know. Much of my cooking is based on intuition. I get an image (or flavor) in my mind, and I can’t let it go until I bring it to fruition. That was certainly true for this dish. I’ve never eaten aioli made with avocado and mango, but somehow I knew that it was going to be delicious…and guess what?! I was right (hehehe)! This particular combination of vegetables, mango, and shrimp mixed into a cake was also new to me, but I could feel my cooking fairies urging me along.

My mom (who is not at all biased) says this dish is the very best thing she’s ever eaten. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Makes 12 small fritters

¼ cup minced yellow onion
1/3 cup minced celery (from 2 stalks)
1/3 cup minced red bell pepper (from about ½ pepper)
1/3 cup minced mango (from about ½ fresh mango or use frozen*)
¼ tsp. chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp. artisanal salt (such as Himalayan or Celtic)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (from ½ lemon)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 lb. wild sustainable shrimp/prawns, diced
1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (made from 4 pieces of bread)*
avocado oil for frying (or other high-heat oil)

*Dry out four pieces of gluten-free bread (use white bread or one that does not have a strong flavor) in an oven at 200 degrees. Break into chunks and then blitz in a food processor fitted with chopping blade to create the crumbs.


In a large bowl, combine the onion, celery, bell pepper, mango, and chili flakes. Stir in the salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add the egg and stir to combine. Mix in the shrimp. Fold in the breadcrumbs. Roll the mixture into balls, approximately the size of a plum and gently press to form a “cake.” Panfry over medium to medium-high heat, approximately 3-5 minutes per side.

Avocado Aioli

2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (from ½ lemon)
1 Tbsp. minced mango
1 avocado, peel and pit removed
¼ tsp. artisanal salt (such as Himalayan or Celtic)


Combine all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade (same one you use to make the bread crumbs). Process until the aioli is smooth and unctuous. Mmm!