Several months ago, I wrote about the basic black dress in cooking. The notion came from a makeover show, which Tim Gunn was co-hosting at the time. He would often say every woman should have a basic black dress in her wardrobe. He talked about how you start with the basic black dress and then accessorize it to make it personal. Thus far, I have applied this to vegetable stock, grilled cheese sandwiches, and cheeseburgers. Last night, I was craving some comfort food and for me that was egg rolls.
I love egg rolls and have eaten them most of my life. In fact, while I was writing my doctoral comprehensive exams, I think we bought the local restaurant out of egg rolls I ate so many. Egg rolls are one of the few foods that taste good to me when I am going through a stressful time. So egg rolls are what I requested when our housemate was elected to go to Wegman’s and get each of us something “deserty” or “comforting.” What he brought me were egg rolls, but nothing like what I have ever had before.
I think I had always known that egg rolls were a basic black dress, as I have had vegetable, chicken, pork and shrimp egg rolls. However, last night was a bit different. Normally, when I get them, I bring home the five-pack of egg rolls they have in the prepared foods section or I order a bunch of them from the local restaurant. My housemate brought me home two trays of egg rolls, each that had two in them. The first was a chicken and basil and the other was spicy pork. The funny thing is that had they just been chicken or pork eggrolls, I would not have thought twice, but it was the words basil and spicy which made me realize that I could put just about anything in an egg roll wrapper and fry it and it would be amazing.
Gibson, the winner of the Rachel vs Guy Kid’s Cook Off already seemed to learn this lesson with his philly cheesesteak egg roll which helped win him the competition. The Neely’s fill their egg rolls with barbecue pulled pork. Robert Irvine said one of the best egg rolls he ever ate was a Reuben egg roll.
The basic black dress with an egg roll is the wrapper. The accessory is what you fill it with. The secret here is that you squeeze all the air out of whatever your filling is, so that it does not explode or leak out when you are frying it. In some respects, the same is true for us spiritually. It does not matter what we believe or know to be true spiritually. What is important is that what we know is wrapped tightly so that it withstands the heat of life’s deep frying experiences.
Whatever your “basic black dress” or “dark suit” is, make sure you can develop your spirituality or create the next version of the egg roll in your kitchen. Whatever your essentials are, keep them in stock so they are there any time you need them and even when you don’t