Lessons from Chinese Tea Eggs

Author’s Note: Not sure if this one works or not. It makes sense in the deep recesses of my quirky brain. Let me know what you’d do with this piece (and deleting it isn’t an option).

Previously, I mentioned that I had been studying Mandarin from a company named for an archeological artifact. I’ve started to go afield and try for literature, religion, culture, music and even recipes.

My latest recipe is for tea eggs. Even before starting, I had to modify the recipe for all the food issues we face. As I’m working on standardizing the recipe, I’m seeing little life lessons I can’t wait to try to share with my kids.

We’re all just eggs in the pot of life.

Each egg has a similar shape. Each egg began in the innards of a hen. Each egg is cooked for the same amount of time. Each egg gets cracked. So in that way, all the eggs are similar.

However, there is a uniqueness to each egg. Each egg is different based on what the hen ate and what her body chemistry was at egg creation. Each egg cracks differently depending on how and where it is cooked. The patterns of lines and pockets of flavors differ depending on cooking and spices used.

We are all human. We all have 23 chromosomes from each of our parents, one male and one female. We all typically began in the womb of a female. We are all born. We all live finite lives.

However, there is so much diversity. We have different patterns of unwise choices (or cracks) depending on how we were raised, what we were feeling, and what we’ve learned. We also have different gifts and abilities (pockets of flavor) that we can use to help others.

There is no one right way.

When I googled recipes for Tea Eggs, I found tons of recipes. And when I tried to google the contents of Chinese Five Spice blend, I found the blend varies from region to region and sometimes from neighborhood to neighborhood.

With the exception of Eternal Truth, we all have our own truths to perceive, express, and interact with in our own way. My style of parenting may not be something that would work in the environment of your home; in the absence of abuse, it’s okay to accept that I am different, and my difference is not your difference; we don’t have to be the same to get good results (or dinner).

All good things take time.

The recipes calls for three sessions of boiling, each with increasing time. The first session is just enough to set the egg white. The second session is a little longer at a very high temperature, presumably to force some of the juices into the cracks as well as kill any germs that would love to dine with us. The finally session is the longest at a very slow temperature, probably to ensure the flavors are sealed and enhanced.

In life, all things take time, from the development of a personality to recovery from abuse or addiction. We cannot shortchange the process and expect to have the kind of results that are best for us. Each experience we have that is negative can be filtered in a way that allows us to see that when we suffer we learn to persevere, to survive.

As we persevere, we learn that we have to be the kind of person we would others around us to be even when no one is looking, and so we develop character. As our character grows, we start to feel a “lightening,” like things aren’t so heavy and like we can do what we need to do with joy and vigor; this “lightening” is hope. And hope will carry us through every trial of life.

Spice is meant to be shared

When the eggs are done cooking, you let them sit in the juices until you’re ready to use them. They can sit and look pretty, but you can’t eat them. You have to peel the shells so you can taste what was infused into the egg through the cooking process.

As you succeed and achieve perseverance and survival, you look pretty. But if you don’t peel off an exterior that keeps people at a distance, you can never let people in to see the unique patterns of lace that reveal your strength and abilities, and people can never taste the sweetness of your survival and the spiciness of your lessons learned the hard way.

And for an egg to go through all that and not be appreciated is a terrible waste of an egg.

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