Sometimes it takes another person to remind you to be kind.
Another person like my friend Shanna, whose gentle and wise voice is the reason why I return over and over to her blog, Food Loves Writing, from which I almost always leave feeling inspired, refreshed or determined to better myself as a person, and be a kinder soul to others.
It may surprise you, but together with my long list of resolutions this year (which included writing a cookbook (!!), going to gym more often, travelling to Italy, as well as improving my writing and food photography), I also scribbled in ballpoint blue ink that I wanted to be kinder.
To be specifc, in my neat handwriting, is the sentence “Be kinder to others than necessary”, a line among so many others. But somehow, as the chase to meet my other goals get in the way, I sometimes forget this important resolution to develop a better character.
For me, I’ve always known that my measure of success in life is the amplitude of positive impact I have on others.
When I wrote down this strong inner desire to put into practice the art of being kind, it was a reflection of something that has always resonated deep within my heart.
Shanna’s post came in very handy the other day – and her beautiful words said it just right – that we should think of kindness “as something we should think of as a muscle, something that needs practice and exercise to grow.”
Just like dancing hip hop or singing for the church choir, or acrylic painting, or even writing, which is so extremely dear to me, kindness is the sort of thing that you develop over time, over countless attempts of practice and exercise. It’s just like patience, like gratitude, and like the decision to love another imperfect person.
Being kind is not always natural to us; and because we are imperfect human beings, it takes double the effort and patience to be kind towards others.
And to be kinder than necessary, it takes even more discipline and continuous reminders to be the good Samaritan in times of need; to speak with patience and gentleness to those at work, our friends, and most importantly, those at home.
I was in need of the timely reminder that kindness is a muscle I need to constantly use; a machine that needs to be continually oiled and greased to function at its optimum capacity. And today, half a year after writing that long list of resolutions, I’m determined to set the kindness machine to work.
I’ve realized that there are similarities in working on one’s character and making these baked garlic parsley potato wedges, with the common denominator being time.
Subtle changes in our characters can only be noted after a significant period, and also requires a character check every now and then. In the same way, baking these potato wedges till they’re crispy and golden brown also requires a review and a check every once in a while – flipping the wedges from one side to the other to prevent them from sticking to the baking dish, and more importantly, it requires patience, because without patience and time, the wedges won’t become crispy.
But if you give it time, and allow the potatoes to bake at a high temperature, when you eventually take them out of the oven, you’ll realize that it’s all worth it.
And then, for something even better? Throw in some minced garlic and fresh chopped parsley, and add salt according to taste, and this is a side dish that will elevate any simple meal.
So there you go. Know that being kinder requires time. And so do these potato wedges.
Enjoy the process and the outcome, either way.
BAKED GARLIC PARSLEY POTATO WEDGES
1) 3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into finger-sized wedges
2) Cooking oil, to coat the wedges
3) Salt & pepper to taste
4) 2 garlic cloves, minced
5) 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
1) Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil
2) Pre-heat the oven to 480 deg Fahrenheit (250 deg Cel)
3) Once salted water has come to a boil, add the raw potato wedges, and let them cook for 3-5 minutes
4) After 3-5 minutes, strain the potato wedge and remove all water
5) Toss and coat the potato wedges with salt, pepper and cooking oil
6) Heat up a lightly oiled oven-safe baking dish for a few minutes in the oven
7) Transfer the salted potato wedges to the greased baking dish, and then bake for 45 minutes, flip them over to the other side, bake another 30 minutes, and flip again, and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown.
8) While the potato wedges are baking, mix the minced garlic and chopped fresh parsley together
9) Mix garlic and parsley with the baked wedges and serve hot