Hi! I could use a lot of help, and I'm open to any suggestions! Thanks for taking the time to help!
Prompt: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Sloppy Joe Symphony
Silence fills the air as I pull out the recipe. My dog sits beside me, thumping her tail as I pull up my sleeves in preparation. I acknowledge her enthusiasm with a smile as I reach for my spatula. With a deep breath, I turn back to my podium and prepare to conduct the Sloppy Joe Symphony.
Movement one is mainly rhythmic, with sounds of the refrigerator door, the soft thuds of found ingredients on the counter, and the angry chopping of the knife. The piece starts with a mellow feel to it by smoothly slicing through the bell pepper, then suddenly exploding with the tearful emotion of the diced onion. The movement ends abruptly with a desperate need to wipe my eyes and blink the pain away.
This is not the only time that cooking has brought me to tears. My first encounter with this recipe was a couple weeks after tearing my ACL last year. I was heartbroken after weeks on the couch, feeling absolutely useless. When I was finally able to hobble around, I needed to find something that I could do on my own. My mom, the Pampered Chef, suggested I take up cooking. When I did, I discovered a way that I regain some control in my life, and create these amazing compositions for me, and for my family.
The second movement comes to life with the soft sizzle of coconut oil. The pepper and onion accompany the melody with a bold harmony, providing the perfect fanfare for what's to come. I linger here, letting it pick up some steam. After a few minutes, the melody shifts into dense block chords as the ground beef is added. I reach for my spatula and start hacking away at the meat, increasing the tempo until all that remains are fragmented notes, fifths among sevenths, mixing and complementing the background harmony of veggies.
Chaos ensues in the third moment, revving up with a countermelody from the sauce. Color notes appear, introducing the flavors of new ingredients sizzling in the saucepan. In a passionate fervor, I start improvising, throwing in oregano, pepper, basil, insecurity, worry, ridding everything clouding my mind until I need to set my baton down to take a deep breath.
I often felt this overwhelmed as I recovered from the knee injury. I hadn't ever faced a obstacle as limiting before. My frustration kept building as I continuously found different things I couldn't do, like expressing myself through dance, taking solo drives on the weekend, and going on simple walks with the dog. Cooking became an outlet where this frustration could explode among the frothing ingredients and boiling passion, and melt away as the heat subsided.
The fourth movement begins with clashing chords as the sauce mixes with the melody. They fight to harmonize until a balance is reached and one perfect chord rings true. The chord strengthens over time until finally, the pan is taken off of the heat. I put my baton down as the music fades slowly to a close.
The first time I conducted the symphony, I felt overjoyed. I proved to myself that I wasn't useless, I wasn't powerless, because I created this amazing piece. Sure, it wasn't beautiful, it was a messy jumble of sloppy joe-but music isn't always beautiful. Sometimes it's the crunchy chords and the changing melody that tells the story, and makes it special. I know my life has full of dissonance lately, but I know someday that it will resolve into something spectacular. Until then, I have this symphony to guide me through.
I bring the pan to the table, and invite my family to join me at the table. Movement five is rhythmic, relating back to the beginning of the piece, except it is full of sliding chairs, clinking utensils, and friendly chatter. I smile as I hear the hums of satisfaction the subtly linger on through the meal, until finally the fermata is cut off and the symphony is brought to an end.