Feeling Thankful and a Salty Honey Pie

November 27, 2014

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I like people. They fascinate me. I want to hear their stories – who they are, where they come from and why they are the way they are.

I also want to know what people eat. No, really, I am genuinely interested. Tell me, if you could have anything to eat right now what would it be?…a plate of spaghetti and meatballs? I hear you. What’s your favourite toast topping?…raspberry jam, interesting. With butter? What did your grandmother make at Christmas gatherings?… jelly slice? Cool.

People and food make me happy. As do writing and cooking. It’s nice when you know what makes you happy, and you can create a life that is full of your particular brand of happy. Everyone has a different definition and realising this can take time. As a twenty-two-year-old you have four jobs: to stay up past 11pm, to drink cheap beer, to think pensively on all of life’s question and to figure out your happy. I failed at the first task, I only drank cheap beer with pizza or curry (though I could down cheap wine with embarrassing ease), and I only sometimes thought on life’s questions because honestly, how can I possibly ponder what happens when we die without going mad/stopping everything boring immediately/quit giving Optus my money because WHAT’S THE POINT?!! Instead I chose to debate in which country I would spend my summer-job cash, because travel made me happy. And I’d go and do just that, returning with a tan and one too many pairs of Thai fisherman pants (and I only bought one). That’s what you do in your twenties, you figure out what you want out of life. Or at least what you don’t want. You also learn that Thai fisherman pants don’t suit anyone.

After graduating from University I avoided getting a job that didn’t involve asking people how they wanted their coffee (which at that point felt far more natural to me than calculating feeding tube rates). Five months of skinny half strength soy flat whites later, I headed overseas with Ben and the two of us spent nine months backpacking across Europe and Asia. Travel = happy. Long train trips and airport floor slumber parties gave me plenty of time to think on what might be a more “grown up”, financially responsible form of happy. I battled with what I thought I should do with my degree versus what I really wanted to do. And then, fuck, did I even care because my brother just died and all I wanted to do was eat pasta and swim along the Sicilian coast. I told everyone that during our trip I was going to have an epiphany in Greece…I just felt it. That didn’t happen, though I did make good friends with our neighbourhood gyros maker in Athens. I’d bring him grapes and he’d give us super cheap gyros, which was life changing in its own right. And I realised things about myself on that trip. I learnt that I really did want to work with people and food. My parents had great flexibility in working for themselves and I knew wanted that too, but in what capacity I wasn’t sure. I don’t think I was quite aware of how deeply I adored food and what it would come to represent in my life until I was well into my Nutrition and Dietetics degree. I mean, it’s obvious now, I know. I have four years of food blogging as proof (and don’t even get me started on my instagram feed, pictures of food make me happier than they perhaps should). Could I combine lofty dreams with realism? Because beyond this cooking, sharing, reading, writing and eating business, I love helping people enjoy food from a health perspective. And by health I mainly mean mental health, because that’s where it starts. It hasn’t been until this past year that I’ve learnt how to merge my two loves and call it “work”. That’s a pretty cool realisation. Almost as life changing as gyros with charcoal rotisserie chicken, hot chips and mustard aioli.

After that 2009 trip paying rent became once again something to consider so I negotiated a “real” job (that payed actual money Optus would accept) while working to make my dream job, the one where I legitimately ask what people eat for breakfast, a reality. It didn’t come quickly or clearly, it took compromise and trying not to rush to the now because along the way you learn and grow and that is important. But it did come. In fact, lately I’ve realised that it’s here… those years as a studious youth who saved like a demon paid off. And while I am acutely aware that I owe much of my success (or rather, the ease of my success) to the stability of a loving home and a good education (in other words, my parents), I also have myself to thank. When I was younger and contemplating musical note tattoos in honour of my brother, I articulated my personal definition of happiness and strove towards that. Go get it, girl. I’m proud of myself.

Why am I rambling on in this self-indulgent manner? I just feel like reflecting. I’m 29 now and when I look around I see and feel a lot of happiness. My life is full of people and food and writing and cooking. And I’m thankful. It’s not all honey pies, of course. Life isn’t always sweet, it’s sometimes heartbreaking, often scary and every now and then I burn my pie crust. I still need to pay Optus and some weeks I don’t see enough clients and we eat chickpeas for dinner three nights in a row. But we’re here and for not very long, so we live out our happy as earnestly as possible, with people who listen and love, who give and challenge and push us to uncompromisingly live our happy. For them, for the gyros-making gurus and loved-ones who fill your face with smiles, I am thankful. For them, I make pie.

…..

The picture below is my piled high plate from Friendsgiving this year at Yasmeen and Jase’s house. The room was filled with beautiful people doing crazy cool things in this world. One talent we all shared? Eating.

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Yasmeen and her husband, Jase, make a ridiculously perfect turkey. Their technique is a mix of instinct and butter. You can read Yasmeen’s tips here (which also involves regular basting), plus more on her recent post about this year’s Friendsgiving. Our hosts also made cornbread (seriously) and stuffing with chestnuts (!!), as well as a boozy cranberry sauce and her family’s sweet potatoes. Guests brought more stuffing and other delights like scalloped potatoes and zucchini fritters. And then there was pumpkin pie (thank goodness), a divine fruit salad with dates and some cheese and chocolate that deserved much more attention than my measly nibble (it was the end of the night and despite wearing a loose-fitting dress I. Was. Done.).

I brought a salty honey pie, my favourite “sure thing” pie. I adore fruit-filled crusts, but find my results to be anything but consistent. Fruit fluctuates whereas honey is reliable. Plus, this recipe felt “on theme” and decidedly fall-esque for this autumn-like, spring Saturday. I’ve spoken of this pie before (here and here) but thought I might share the recipe again, with an updated picture and reaffirmed applause. This time around, Joy helped me get those crimped edges just right. Please, make this pie. And thank you for reading. I’m thankful for you too.

Sorry for swearing, Nana.

Salty Honey Pie (recipe link).

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Heidi xo

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  • Yasmeen | Wandering Spice November 27, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Great post, love. It’s wonderful to reflect back on where we’ve come from and what that all means for us today, especially if the outcome is that we’re living in a way that’s true to ourselves.

    Loved having you at friendsgiving – so glad you loved it too. That pie!!!

    • Heidi November 28, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Thank you, Yas. You know I’m thankful for you! x

  • Rachael November 27, 2014 at 10:40 am

    This is such a lovely post, Heidi. It really struck a chord with me as I feel as though I’m on this same journey myself right now. I graduated Dietetics last year, was lucky enough to find a job, and now I’m trying to figure out how to gain/create that dream career.
    I’ve just finished reading your blog posts, and I loved reading about how your food beliefs have changed over time. I really enjoy your posts and blog, they’ve helped to shape the way I practice, and my view of food and lifestyle. So thank you 🙂

    • Heidi December 4, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Congratulations on graduating, Rachel, that’s awesome. I’m so pleased you’ve enjoyed my posts and found them useful. Thanks for letting me know! All the very best with your career x

  • Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life November 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    We celebrate Friendsmas instead of Friendsgiving, and call it ‘Family Dinner’ because those friends who come along are more like family anyway.
    This time of year always gives me pause to think about how far I have come since this point last year, five years ago, ten years ago. I still ask myself the same questions, and I’m still working on my version of happy, but the important bit is that I am working toward it.
    I once was a dietitian too, and it was my happy place working with cancer survivors, but life throws stones in our road and changes our course, so here I am, in different pastures but still in pursuit of my own blue skies. I have love, family, friends, laughter, and health so there is a lot to be thankful for. We’ve come a long way baby, but there’s still a distance to go, and I couldn’t be happier traveling this road 🙂
    P.S. I will definitely try the pie 🙂

    • Heidi December 4, 2014 at 10:08 am

      What a beautiful comment, Amy, thank you. I so hear you. And you know what? Our version of happy changes with time too. We just gotta be true to that, adapt & strive & enjoy the ride x

  • Bree November 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Beautiful post Heidi, this really resonated with me. I absolutely love being a dietetics student but am sometimes terrified of graduating and what that will mean. Thankyou so much for sharing!

    • Heidi December 4, 2014 at 10:10 am

      Hi Bree. It’s hard to not focus on the end point & try to figure it all out now, it can be terrifying! But the steps you take & the experiences you gain along the way will help shape you & make it all clearer. Of course it’s easy to say that now, 6 years later 😉 x

  • Hannah November 27, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    This post made me cry. I’m so proud of you. And proud to know you. And I slightly want to run outside, point at the stars, and say “Do you know how lucky you are to have a Heidi to shine down on tonight?”

    I would do it, too, except the lady I’m housesitting for introduced me to all the neighbours, many of whom also know my mother, so word might get around that Hannah’s gone off her rocker.

    Love you. x

    • Heidi December 4, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Oh Hannah you’re just the most loving friend. Thank you for all your support & love. I’m lucky to call you a friend. x ps I’m up to the 70s in TLBD!!

  • Lauren November 27, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Love your blog. That is all 🙂

    • Heidi December 4, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Thanks, Lauren, that is awesome 🙂 x

  • kate November 28, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Heidi this was such a wonderful piece to read. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words. At 29 too, I am right on the cusp of discovering my happy, so close I can almost touch it. Here is to the pursuit!

    • Heidi December 4, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Cheers, Kate! Have fun on the journey 🙂 x ps that sounds so lame & Australian Idol-esque but dammit it’s true

  • Dana November 30, 2014 at 6:20 am

    I’m not really one to comment on blogs, I rather read in silence and appreciation. But I couldn’t not comment on this post. I have adored your blog for years and look forward to each and every post. You write with such passion and honesty, you’re an inspiration and a reminder to live each day and be grateful for who and what we have…and eat. I am grateful for coming across your blog Heidi, and although I don’t know you personally, I feel as though you speak to my soul….so thankyou!!

    • Heidi December 4, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Oh Dana, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I’m feeling really chuffed and special right now, thank you for your words and kindness. I am just beyond pleased that my blog speaks to you. Wish I could send you some baked good to say thanks but alas, words & recipes will have to do 🙂 x

  • laurasmess December 2, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    This is such a beautifully reflective post. I can relate to your thoughts about the passage of time, purpose (of ourselves and life in general) and finding our vocation. I’m still trying to find my happy. No, wait, scratch that. I’ve found my happy but I’m just trying to work out how to make it the focal point of my life, rather than the ‘thing I do when I have a bit of spare time’. Funnily enough, I wanted to enrol in dietetics when I left school. I ended up changing course because I got enough points to enter Law school and I figured I’d try and make my daddy proud. A few years later? Well, I don’t want to write a reflective omnibus (as it’s not MY post, haha) but I’m not quite there yet. But I’m closer, but the thing that pays the bills and the thing that makes me feel like I CONTRIBUTE to the betterment of my world don’t quite correlate. Thanks for sharing your journey, your heart and your thankfulness. I think Friendsgiving is a wonderful idea.
    P.S. Since you like reading about food… I made organic beef meatballs stuffed with herbs and lemon zest last night. Cooked them in homemade tomato and basil sugo, baked them covered in cheese, ate them with fresh sourdough, garlic butter and a rocket and pickled radish salad (with Meredith dairy goats cheese, sunflower seeds and olive oil). Aaron got home at 8pm so we scoffed them and fell asleep on the sofa with the sleepy pup inbetween. My happy place. xox

    • Heidi December 4, 2014 at 10:15 am

      I so appreciate your comment, as always, lovely. I wish we could have a coffee in person & catch up at last! No doubt we would have so much to talk about. Imagine that we could have been dietitian colleagues. Well, we’re blog, breakfast, travel colleagues I suppose, & isn’t that even better? I think so. Thank you for describing your cray delicious & cozy meal to me, but DARN IT now I am craving meatballs!! Must make them soon. Off to tell Ben that we must. Hopefully they manifest shortly x

  • Emma December 3, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    I love this so much and you are just like me. First thing I ask my boyfriend when I see him after work is “what did you have for lunch today”

    • Heidi December 4, 2014 at 10:16 am

      You’re in good company, Emma x

  • Tiffanie December 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Heidi this is a gorgeous post.
    I have struggled to find my brand of happy in the dietetic world also, although I am currently employed (in a pretty great) traditional role I dream of blogging and creating my own business.
    This encourages me to just keep leaning towards my happy and know that all is coming. I love talking about food, thinking about food, reading about food, hearing about food and just generally anything to do with nourishing our health, so I know that regardless I am on the right path.
    Love your work and your approach to dietetics. x