I bought a beautiful used book by Life for 3.99 today: The Meaning of Life — Reflections in Words and Pictures on Why We are Here. Why are we here? Life posed the grand question to 300 celebrated authors, artists, scientists and to ordinary barbers, taxi drivers and welfare mothers, and published the answers with a selection of black and white photos from the magazine’s photo archive.
A couple of days ago, I wrote about how the Costco roast chicken was the best $4.99 anyone could spend. Today I found the best $3.99 that anyone can spend in this book — a feast to the mind, the heart and the eye. You can open it at any given page and find something poignant or poetic or funny.
Here is the answer from one of my favorite writers Annie Dillard:
We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us. We witness our generation and our times. We watch the weather. Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house.
According to the second law of thermodynamics, things fall apart. Structures disintegrate. Buckminster Fuller hinted at a reason we are here: By creating things, by thinking up new combinations, we counteract this flow of entropy. We make new structures, new wholeness, so the universe comes out even. A shepherd on a hilltop who looks at a mess of stars and thinks, ‘There’s a hunter, a plow, a fish,’ is making mental connections that have as much real force in the universe as the very fires in those stars themselves.
And here is the answer from a butcher by the name of Carmine Pucci:
The meaning of life is listening to Pavarotti, feeling the sun on your face, drinking a bottle of wine, and then another. The meaning of life is having a safe and healthy society, a happy family life, good health, a loving wife, work that you like, smelling the smell of a new car and the ocean air, being able to hit a bull’s eye, coming home with the fish and not another fish story.
I couldn’t agree more. We are here to bear witness, to create and to feast.
Spring Stir Fry with Chicken and Sugar Snap Peas
For the sauce:
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp + 1tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp water
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp sugar
For the Stir Fry:
1.2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced, marinated for 15 to 30 minutes in 1 tbsp of cooking wine, 1/2 tsp cornstarch, a pinch of salt and a few thin slices of ginger
2 tbsp rice bran oil, or canola
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup carrots, sliced diagonally
Combine soy sauce, lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, water and cornstarch in a small bowl, mix together and set aside.
Heat a large wok over high heat. When the wok is very hot, add half of the oil, then add the chicken. Stir fry, stirring occasionally until the chicken is just cooked through and slightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside. Reduce heat to medium.
Add the remaining oil to the wok; add the garlic and ginger, stir for 20 seconds. Add the sugar snap peas and carrots, stirring over medium high heat until tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
Return the chicken to the wok, add the soy sauce-lemon mixture, mix well and cook another 30 seconds to one minute. Serve immediately with rice.
Adapted from: skinnytaste.com