dark chocolate zucchini bread with a side of grit

Usually I’d try to come up with some connection between some topics to come up with some fantastic post, but today, my brain is overloaded with reading science articles. So instead, I yield to dissociation.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Basil

1/2 cup flour

 

Almost a full cup zucchini grated

 

1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder

 

handful chocolate chips semisweet

 

1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar

Basil

 

Cinnamon

salt

 

1 egg

 

1/4 cup canola oil

 

1/4 cup whole milk yogurt

 

1/2 tsp baking soda

 

1/8 tsp baking powder

 

 

“Mix the wet ingredients together and sift the dry ones in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture in three parts to the dry and fold until just combined. Pour into a 5 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean. Cool on rack to room temperature before slicing.” (taken from http://www.forkspoonnknife.com/2010/09/farm-to-table-zucchini-chocolate-basil.html)

I had a lot of chocolate scraps left over from production, so I liked to add a layer to the top of the bread after I let it cool for 5 minutes. It created a really cool texture on the top. I also sprinkled cinnamon and basil on the top of the loaf.

You can serve with a light cheese, or a sauce mixed with lemon zest, or extra basil if you please.

And now…onto grit.

I came across this blog, The Frontal Cortex, while reading a science book review during my research. I absolutely loved this post (and now his blog), and thought I’d share it with you:

Grit is not just about stubborn persistence. It’ no use persisting, after all, if a goal is truly impossible. While you’ve no doubt been bombarded with successful people telling you that dreams always come true, that we just need to believe, that if you can imagine it then it can happen, the dismal reality is that not every goal is worth pursuing. I might want to play in the NBA, but I’m not Spud Webb. I still want to compose the Great American Novel, but I also know that my college creative writing professor was right: I have no talent for fiction. Unless I’m honest about my limitations, I’ll waste time chasing a farfetched future, which quickly gets very very frustrating. Because dreams do come true. But first we need to pick the right one.

So how can we sort the useful long-term goals from the futile ones? How can we make sure that all of our struggle and practice and sacrifice will be worth it? Well, here’s my advice: ask yourself if the goal passes the underwear test.

Let me explain. One of the most deep seated features of the human mind is that it quickly takes things for granted, becoming numb to the predictable perceptions and pleasures of the world. Just think of your underwear. Do you feel it? Are you conscious of it? Of course not. That’s because you’ve adapted to the feel of underwear, habituated to the touch of cotton on your bum.

And this isn’t just about underwear. Psychological adaptation also explains why the first bite of chocolate cake is better than the second, and the second is better than the third. It explains why the first time you use that new iPhone you’re pretty excited, but before long it will just be another thing in your pocket. And then, a few weeks after that, you’ll start complaining that your phone (your phone!) can only hold 10,000 songs or that it downloads streaming videos from Netflix so slowly. The delight has vanished, replaced by the usual dissatisfaction. This is because our brain is designed to be ungrateful, every pleasure a fleeting thing.

What does this have to do with grit and long-term goals? Well, the only dreams worth pursuing are those that pass the underwear test. These are the pursuits that don’t bore us, even after we put in 10,000 hours of practice. They contain the kind of subtle thrills that don’t get old, that we don’t adapt to, that keep us motivated and interested for years and years at a time. Sure, there will be frustrations along the way, but these frustrations don’t feel permanent, which is what allows us to keep on working and learning and improving. Because that’s what it takes to succeed, to accomplish something interesting. Perhaps you want to invent the cure for malaria, or bake a perfect baguette, or create the next Facebook. Whatever – don’t apologize for your obsession. Just be grateful you are obsessed with something, that you’ve found a goal worth getting gritty over. Because if your goals ever feel tedious, if you find them as unnecessary as that last bite of chocolate cake, then you’re never going to put in the necessary work. Grit requires passion. Grit requires love. And love is just another name for what never gets old. Love is the opposite of underwear.

Leave a comment

Filed under chocolate, cooking, creativity, food, neuroscience, photography, recipe, Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s