From the 5th grade, I desperately wanted my ears pierced. I remembered going with my mom to get her ears pierced when I was in the 4th grade, and by the 5th grade it was all I thought about. I even made little stickers to put on my ears and pretended they were earrings. My mom hesitated with the ear piercing thing because her own experience had been so problematic that she was reluctant to subject me to such an experience.
I wanted and waited for a long time, and by the 7th grade, when I asked again, the answer was still a no. "When you're 16, you can do it," was the repeated phrase and I inwardly thought I might as well be an old lady and get them pierced if I wasn't going to get them before. But an unexpected chance came when I was in the summer between my 7th and 8th grade years. I had taken an admissions test to a rigorous private school a couple of weeks prior, and was accepted. My parents very much wanted me to attend for A SINGLE YEAR this private school to which I screamed and yelled and fought back hard saying that for a single year it just wasn't worth it.
Finally, my mom asked me WHY I didn't want to go. I seized my chance and I took it. "All the other girls have their ears pierced and I'll be the only one who DOESN'T!"
"You mean, if you get your ears pierced, you'll go?"
Two hours later, we were in the car on the way to the mall and I had submitted my acceptance of admission to school. It ended up being a very difficult year for me, one fraught with a lot of emotional stress and unhappiness and the ear holes in my ears weren't enough to assuage the challenges of that year. I'm probably better for it, although the time suffering in a school as a complete outsider isn't easily forgotten. Clearly the chance to get the ears pierced was too much of a temptation.
Therefore, when Daughter #1 was 8 years old, I offered her a birthday present: getting her ears pierced. She mulled it over and asked how much it hurt and I told her, "Pinch your ear really hard and it hurts like that." She pinched it super hard, brought tears to her own face and said, "No. I don't want it. I'm too scared."
This year, I mentioned it again the possibility of her ears pierced as a birthday present. She mulled it over and said, "YES!" I casually mentioned it to Husband, the ear piercing gift and he immediately got worked up. "No. She's simply too young. She can't get it done!"
"I already told her she could."
"Take it back. Tell her she can't. Tell her I said no." I simply shook my head, but what choice did I have.
I explained to #1 that her father wasn't on board with the whole ear piercing thing, but perhaps she could write him a convincing letter explaining why. She stormed off and sulked in her room a while and I went to Husband wildly gesticulating and mouthing to him that she was angry at ME for HIS decree.
"If she writes me something to convince me, then I'll make a decision. I just need to understand the WHY of the ear piercing." (Uh - how about because mom said yes?)
He let her know of his decision and she pouted and flounced about angry and I watched #2 quietly calculating in the corner. Daughter #2 has forever been the wise one, and understands her role and the supporter to the trailblazer, her older sister. "I'll help you do it," Daughter #2 said. "Just do it. It won't be hard. I'll help you. I'll sit next to you when you write it." #1 staunchly refused it seemed as if another year would go by without the ear piercing.
However a few days ago, I casually mentioned that I knew of a jeweler that did the ear piercings. Daughter #2's eyes widened and said, "Just write the letter. It will be easy."
"If you're going to write the letter, a good argument has at least three strong points or reasons," I said as a gentle reminder. It would be the only thing I would say on the subject.
30 minutes later, both girls came down and I asked, "Finished?" and Daughter #1 nodded. "Do you want to type it?"
"Tomorrow. I'll type it tomorrow." Once typed, Daughter #1 presented Husband with the letter, and he was properly swayed and convinced. Two days later, we all crammed into a little local jewelers and Grandma bought Daughter #1 pretty gold earrings and the ear holes she's wanted. Daughter #2 looked on, watched how her older sister didn't flinch and definitively said, "This is where I'm coming when it's my time to get my ear pierced." Daughter #1 positively glowed from the experience (not from the piercing itself) and it was clear that she got what she wanted.
Getting what I want in the kitchen is a slightly trickier as most days I don't have all the time in the world to cook everything that I want. My most common craving is Indian, but my fear of cashew nuts sends me to my corner without ever going out to consume any Indian food at all. Much of the Indian food I make at home tends to lean to the other side of time consuming, but this grilled shrimp dish isn't that way at all. Simply marinate some shrimp (meaning rub with some spices), make a couple of dipping sauces, grill shrimp, then dip away. It's the fastest way I get the Indian flavors I want. Shrimp has a kick, the cilantro dipping sauce has a freshness, and the yogurt sauce just brings it all together.
Indian Spiced Grilled Shrimp with Two Dipping Sauces
Serves 6 to 8 people
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons garam masala or curry powder if that’s all you have
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds large shrimp (16/20), shelled, deveined, tails left on and patted dry
Whisk together the canola oil, chili powder, garam masala, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl Add the shrimp and rub marinade all over each piece. Let marinate for 15 minutes. (While shrimp is marinating, make dipping sauces.)
Set grill for high. Lay shrimp directly on heat and cook for about 2 minutes per side, until each side is firm to the touch. As the marinade covers the shrimp it’ll be difficult to tell by color alone if the shrimp is done, so touch will be important here. Remove from grill. Serve warm with dipping sauces.
Cilantro Dipping Sauce
1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves
4 scallions, chopped
½ of a jalapeno (or a whole if you like it spicy)
Zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon canola oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the cilantro, mint, scallions, jalapeno, honey and canola oil, lime zest, and some salt and pepper in a food processor. Process to make a smooth paste. Taste; add one or two teaspoons more of oil, if desired, to make a thicker sauce.
Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
½ cup whole milk yogurt
¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
Combine yogurt, cilantro, garlic and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Time for ME to get what I want!