The Beauty of Imperfection

2014-11-26 22.01.13

Gloriously imperfect…my Derby pie.

As the holiday season approaches, people run around pursuing the “perfect” holiday — the perfect gifts, the perfect meals, the perfect gathering, the perfect family (good luck with that one!). I understand the impulse, I really do. The  “perfect” holiday is a form of the American Dream — always just out of reach but desirable nonetheless.

SueG was not one to waste time with perfection. She knew the real world was full of messes and flaws and things that are broken. She embraced imperfection. She was a bit irritated — bored — with perfection, to be honest. It is so predictable and uniform, often without imagination. One of the most important lessons my mother ever taught me: Imperfection is to be accepted, embraced and celebrated. Never apologize for the flaws that make a person, thing, food (or anything else) individual. SueG felt people spend far too much time driving toward “perfection,” a concept that is so highly subjective as to be totally specious. She felt people should experiment, try different things and enjoy the results. (If the results should not be enjoyable, throw them out and move on.)

Let’s take a look at my pie, above. It’s not going to appear on the cover of Food and Wine (I would have said Gourmet, but that exists only in online form now, alas) . The crust is uneven and breaking off in places (does that crust look homemade or what?). A few errant walnuts and chocolate chips stick up from the surface rebelliously. There is rather too little of the pie filling, the chocolate-chip cookie dough part. I used a somewhat bigger dish than I should have. I own a smaller glass pie dish, but I forgot to use it. Life is like that. I could have selected the “right” dish. But I didn’t. And it’s OK. SueG would have loved this pie, especially with tons of whipped cream.

The great thing about giving up on perfection is you can just live, creating masterpieces as well as disasters and everything in between. Aiming for perfection asks the world to be other than as it is.

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