I don’t know about you, but in my experience with cooking, I’ve historically found that the seemingly easiest recipes are the ones easiest to mess up. Having grown up in the restaurant industry, I learned that this experience was not unique to me, or industry specific. Go to any part of the world, meet with all the best culinary minds, and you will undoubtedly find a chef who practiced making the most basic of dishes (ie: scrambled eggs, pasta, rice) for months before their instructor let them move on, and who still employs the same tactics with their students.

So, a few years back when I stumbled upon a recipe for the Quintessential Recipe of A Year, listed at the bottom of this post, and saw that it was for beginners, I decided to give it a test run. I thought, “I know these ingredients” and “I can do this!” Fast forward roughly 30 attempts, and it turns out, no matter how much practice one has, a year is still a pretty easy thing to mess up. It can be almost like a holiday cookie you’ve made a million times, but still doesn’t look as good as your mom’s, or never turns out how you expected it to.

When I consider that the recipe calls for miscellaneous ingredients to essentially be stewed over a 12-month period, attempting to control for unknown variables, and then physically watch over it the whole time, I realized it was an impossible task. I felt defeated each year, like Sisyphus, unable to distinguish between progress and perfection. Hind-site is always 20/20, after all, and now I am just grateful I didn’t burn down anything letting so much simmer for so long.

The thing that the Quintessential Recipe of a Year has helped me to digest is that: there is no one perfect way for a year to turn out. There are just common elements or ingredients, organized in similar and different ways, we can tailor until it suits us best. For example, while you might prefer ginger-molasses cookies over sugar cookies, both require flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. If someone hadn’t taken the time to master a sugar cookie, or had stopped innovating cookies altogether, a ginger-molasses cookie might never have come along. For 2018, what I hope this recipe gives you is the knowledge that: regardless of your ingredients or the instructions listed on the sheet, there is no one-way to have a great year. You get to keep changing the recipe for success until it fits the way you want it to, for as long as you want it to.

Quintessential Recipe of a Year

Author Unknown
Take 12 whole months.
Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness, hate, and jealousy.
Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.
Cut each month into 28, 30 or 31 different parts,
but don’t make up the whole batch at once.

Prepare one day at a time with these ingredients:
Mix well into each day one part each of faith, patience, courage, and work.
Also add to each day one part of hope, faithfulness, generosity, and kindness.
Blend with one part prayer, one part meditation, and one good deed.
Season the whole with a dash of good spirits, a sprinkle of fun,
a pinch of play and a cupful of good humor.

Pour all of this into a vessel of love.
Cook thoroughly over radiant joy, garnish with a smile and serve with quietness, unselfishness, and cheerfulness. You’re bound to have a happy new year.