I was recently a guest on a podcast. It was my first time “on air” since I worked as a radio journalist in Rwanda. My friend Laura Kelly launched her own podcast, You Might Not Like It in November 2018. After I listened to a few of her episodes, I knew I wanted to be a part of what she was doing.
When I first talked to Laura about appearing on the show, I was full of excitement and big ideas. I wanted to talk about being a woman of large appetites. In that conversation I wanted to cover the genesis story of Taste & Tipple, highlights and low points of my dating life, taking pleasure in the small things and how to cultivate self-confidence and conquer feelings of shame.
It was an ambitious agenda. After we finished recording, over cocktails (of course), I had the growing sense of unease. I felt anxious that I’d shared too much and that I would come off sounding like a self-absorbed asshole. I felt exposed and vulnerable, not knowing how listeners would perceive me in all my imperfections and contradictions.
Then I listened to episode 14 of her show, entitled, “No, I won’t have coffee with you,” and Laura reminded me that you can’t be everything to everyone. I was instantly reassured that the only thing that mattered is that I shared my authentic self. Whether this episode resonates with you or not, you’ll definitely know me better after listening to it. You can listen to it wherever you find your podcasts or at: https://youmightnotlikeit.com/2019/01/30/tasteandtipple/
As much as I fancy myself to be unapologetic and audacious, it’s these fleeting moments of emotional nakedness that serve as a reminder that, at my core, I just want to be liked. I think most people share this urge – it’s a natural compulsion to find social belonging and acceptance.
But Laura’s succinct statement, “you can’t be everything to everyone,” reset my perspective and I was comforted by the knowledge that I’d never aspired to be universally liked. I’d never compete in a popularity contest, simply because I would never win.
I seek the kind of authenticity and emotional intimacy that demands concerted effort and care. For this reason, I keep a small group of very close friends who I open up to, who I trust to shelter me in my moments of weakness and champion me. These are the few women whom I would do anything for. I treasure them in every moment.
I sincerely hope that you have this kind of friendship in your life. If you don’t, I encourage you to seek it out. It won’t be the work of the moment and it might take some time to find those rare and special people who truly see you, but they are out there and your patience and effort will be rewarded.
Pasta Alfredo with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Green Onions
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups 35% cream
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 450 g large pasta shells
- 1/2 cup romano cheese, finely grated
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 cup green onion
Heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened and lightly golden. Add minced garlic and fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Add cream, chicken stock, thyme, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring often for 25-35 minutes until sauce is thick and creamy.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once sauce has been simmering for 20 minutes, add pasta shells to boiling water. Cook pasta according to package directions, approximately 10 minutes.
When alfredo sauce has achieved desired thickness, reduce heat to medium-low and add romano and parmesan. Stir until cheese is fully melted. Remove from heat and add sun-dried tomatoes and green onion. Stir until combined.
Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water. Drain pasta in colander and then add to alfredo sauce. Toss to coat evenly. If sauce is too thick to evenly coat the pasta, gradually add reserved pasta cooking water to thin out sauce. Add 1/4 cup at a time to prevent the sauce from becoming watery.
Serve immediately with additional parmesan, as desired.