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The ‘No’ Woman, Rediscovering Yes and Lavender Almonds

I used to be a woman of ‘yes.’ Not in the loose sort of way, mind you. But in a ‘sure, I’m free on Thursday night for this random Italian conversation group meeting that I saw advertised in my neighborhood coffee shop.’ When you spend your life moving, re-introducing yourself to new people and new places, learning new names and trying to make sure you can report on Facebook that you are ‘doing stuff,’ it’s easier to say yes. It helps to be single. It helps to have a partner in crime–great roommate or co-worker, or another yes-type compatriot. Being a woman of yes, I met a lot of interesting people–some of them have become my closest friends, others the topics of great stories. Growing up an only child, I rebelled the only way I knew how: by filling every single moment of my life surrounded by people and plans. I always had a sidekick, or two, or three.

But at some point, I started to become more of a ‘no’ woman. I said no to company softball games and impromptu dinner dates with casual acquaintances, started taking into account my bed time and commute time and taking more cabs home instead of braving the bus. It wasn’t that I was saying no to close friends or family, but I started to get…overwhelmed? I didn’t mind spending three consecutive nights at home, cooking, reading, writing, organizing photos. I didn’t mind blocking off an afternoon to go to the farmer’s market–maybe even by myself. And I sort of fell into a routine of no.

I made sure to make time for close friends and I continued to attend birthday parties and group get togethers around the holidays, but I no longer threw myself out there and go on a limb to meet new people. Perhaps it was a side effect of living somewhere for a long time, or just getting older. But in any case, I started to realize that beyond just prioritizing and creating a work/life balance for myself (which I still think is incredibly important), I started to get negative about the new. About throwing myself out there. Being uncomfortable. And so, slowly, I’ve started saying yes. It’s a great feeling.

It helps to get back into ‘yes’ when you surround yourself with great people. A variety of friends–both old and new. On a recent outing to a restaurant I absolutely adored (Local Mission Eatery), a few lady friends and I noshed on some lavender almonds that were beyond addictive. Crunchy, sweet, salty and smelling of intoxicating lavender, they burned in my mind until I tried making them at home. Beyond simple. Beyond delicious. I say ‘yes!’

Lavender Almonds
*inspired by Local Mission Eatery in San Francisco, recipe adapted from Veg SF

2 cups of raw almonds
2 teaspoons of dried lavender, ground finely using a mortar and pestle
2-3 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 tablespoon of good quality sea salt
1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil

1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and roast for about 12 minutes (until they’re fragrant and toasty).
2. Once the almonds cool slightly, toss them in a bowl with the sugar, crushed lavender, sea salt and olive oil. Add a bit more olive oil, if necessary. Don’t skimp on the sugar–the almonds should be cozily nestled in it. Add more sea salt, if you like a more pronounced salty/sweet flavor profile.

Musical Pairings: The Limiñanas – The Limiñanas + Lavender Almonds

The lavender almonds that Kasey is featuring today on eating/sf are floral, flavorful and refreshingly unique. They make me think of a light pre-dinner snack you might enjoy at an idyllic, rustic bistro found after a long drive into the countryside of Southern France. For this reason, I believe this recipe pairs well with the band selected for today’s pairing: The Limiñanas. The Limiñanas are a French band originating from Perpignan, France that cook up a sonically sexy stew of 1960’s Franco-cinematic scuzz-n-fuzz lined garage-rock. As you listen to their self-titled debut, you’ll catch hints hints of surf rock, Serge Gainsbourg styled yé-yé, Stereolab, and the Velvet Underground all blended together in the disaffected croons and beatnik-vibed chords that the trio slink out of the melodies they’ve crafted for the albums’ dozen tracks. Catch the rest of the review, and a track, at Musical Pairings‘ home. –Matthew

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