You know who Elizabeth Gilbert is, right? She wrote the 2007 national bestselling memoir Eat Pray Love (made into a film starring Julia Roberts.) She had epiphany after epiphany following breakdown after breakdown. Ms. Gilbert managed to craft out her life’s story into a platform to inspire and empower others to live larger, love bigger, and to give more in every situation. More books, speaking tours, writing workshops, Oprah...
She’s part of a whole ‘thought leaders’ movement with people like Glennon Doyle and Brené Brown. I swear they are a club of Lady Wizards. Elizabeth is my favorite because of her connection to India and travel and food. I even went to hear her speak in New York City when I got back from my first trip to India in 2011.
Of all the wisdom and lessons she’s shared, the words that stick with me the most actually come from her wife Rayya Elias.
“The truth has legs; it always stands. When everything else in the room has blown up or dissolved away, the only thing left standing will always be the truth. Since that’s where you’re gonna end up anyway, you might as well just start there.”
The interesting thing about this quote is the context in which it was shared. Elizabeth left her husband and went on her Eat, Pray, Love quest after her marriage ended in divorce. She discovered love with a new man on that journey and remarried. Then she got famous. All the opportunities started swirling around. Elizabeth began touring with a woman who became her best friend, Rayya.
And then her truth found its legs and stood up. The truth was that her best friend, Rayya Elias—who had been diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer—was also the love of her life. What?!?? Yup.
“I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. And I have no more time for denying that truth. The thought of someday sitting in a hospital room with her, holding her hand and watching her slide away, without ever having let her (or myself!) know the extent of my true feelings for her…well, that thought was unthinkable.”
“Here is the thing about truth, once you see it, you cannot un-see it. So that truth, once it came to my heart’s attention, could not be ignored.”
I must confess, a tiny part of me felt like I was duped with Eat, Pray, Love. Watching her new life unfold as the result of that book, only to fall down around her like a house of cards, I was really let down and confused.
Rayya died at the beginning of this year and I swear I think about her ‘The truth has legs’ quote nearly every day. Truth is tricky. Even if we don't admit our truths or choose to share our deepest honesties, they push up through the ground of our hearts to soak up the sun. We can push them back down, but they will continue to make themselves seen, heard, and felt.
I’d love to say I’m an honest and truthful person, but before I get to those descriptives, I have to say I’m human. As a human, I withhold the truth a lot. I think we all do. Our lives are knit together by tiny little lies (well-kept secrets.)
When we don’t own up to our truth and instead create walls by stacking the stones of secrets, we’re usually fueled by one of two things: fear and hope. We fear we’re going to be hurt or hurt someone else, and we hope that the universe will conspire with us so that we can keep on hoarding our secrets with no casualties.
Lately, I’ve been working on summoning the courage and guts to tell my own truth. It’s a daily process. Fear and hope get the best of me on most days.
I was just visiting a church service supporting some friends who were singing and there was a sweet part of the service. They called it Private Confession. It was a moment of silence for you to reflect and talk to God one on one to admit your truth. How timely, right? AND this particular service was held in the VERY room I went to go hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak seven years ago! What?! Yup. The truth has legs. It stands up. Let’s gather our courage and guts to face it, welcome it, and share it.
This week's recipe is a bit of a confession: I am not a fan of the chef who inspired it. At the urging of my sister, Jules, we went to his restaurant while she still lived in New York (and while it was still open - the doors have since been closed. Go back and click on that link and read the historic review of this restaurant. It's a good read.) We ate this dish and it was pretty great. One of my cooking magazines posted the recipe a while ago and I cut it out and mailed it to Jules back home in Missouri. She now makes it for our parents and her friends. When I was home last week that was on the menu for our 4th Of July dinner. It was so fun to be her sous chef and have her tell me what to chop. She's even made it enough to have developed some shortcuts and ingredient swap outs. Yay Sissy! The truth stands up in the kitchen too, good food is good food! (Even if the chef who made it calls them Guy-Talian Nachos and they are the last things on the menu that you want to order...)
- 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and small diced
- 1/3 cup minced red onion
- 2 ounces Genoa salami, julienned
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, about 2 cloves
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/3 cup sliced pepperoncini deli peppers
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1/4 yellow onion, small diced, about 1/4 cup
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 8 ounces mozzarella, grated
- 1 tablespoon julienned basil leaves (we used basil from a tube!)
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
The base can be fried wontons or pita chips. My sister has done the fried wontons but it's a hassle so she subbed in ready-made pita chips and it was really great! The recipe below includes the wonton chip method.
Combine all the ingredients in a nonreactive bowl. Set aside and allow the flavors to marry.
In a medium-sized saute pan over medium-high heat, add half of the olive oil. Cook both the ground beef and turkey sausage until cooked through, then remove them from the pan to a plate. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and saute the onion until it turns opaque about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer while preventing it from burning. Return the meat mixture to the pan. Combine the ingredients well and set the filling aside.
Chips: In a heavy skillet, over medium heat, heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Carefully lower the wonton wrappers into the oil, in batches, since they cook extremely fast. As soon as they puff up, make sure you flip them over. Once they start to brown, remove them to a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle them with salt as soon as they are out of the oil.
Preheat the oven to a low broil and position a rack approximately 9 inches below the burner.
In a large oven-safe dish, arrange a layer of chips, a layer of meat mixture, (reheat if necessary), and sprinkle everything with some mozzarella. Repeat this action with the second half of the ingredients, and again finish with the cheese. Put the dish under the broiler until the cheese has melted, (keep a close eye on this). Remove the nachos from the oven and top with the salsa, sour cream, basil, and green onions. Serve immediately.