Ever take that Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Keirsey Temperament Sorter test? If not, you probably should, just so you know what people are talking about when they start explaining themselves in terms of 'I's and 'E’s or 'P’s and 'J’s, as in "I'm an INTJ. What are you?" After answering several pages of multiple choice questions, the Myers-Briggs test will give you a four letter badge, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter a one word label, such as "Artisan" or "Rational," by which to describe yourself. These will tell you how you view the world and, better yet, suggest reasons why others view it differently.
I took the test again a few weeks ago on a women’s retreat with forty other women. We used the Keirsey model to narrow our groupings to combinations of two of the four Myer's-Briggs trait dichotomies and formed small groups from our four distinct types.
What did I learn? Nothing new really. Just an affirmation that I am, as some might say (with varying expressions on their face), a bit special. Out of forty women divided into four groups there were only two of us who were NTs (a combination of Intuitive vs Sensing and Thinking vs Feeling.) In Keirsey lingo we are known as Rationals, problem solvers who trust logic, prize technology and seek efficient solutions. To make us even more special the other person was opposite me on the other two traits measured by the Myers-Briggs test. Even in a world where we can measure everything and find a box for everyone to be grouped in, it turns out I am still a bit different.
But I hate boxes. I never feel comfortable squeezing into them. As my Rational label suggests I have never been completely comfortable with coloring outside the lines so these tests leave me with little room to be who I think I am. Being an NT works for me in some ways. I can be very analytical. I once worked as a CPA. Now, however, I work as an artist and writer so I might expect to find that I had wandered into the “Artisan” box. But, no. I still test strongly as an "NT" or "Rational".
OK. I can look at this as a game, something to think about and amuse ourselves with for the weekend. Someone has to go in every box to validate the game. I really don’t mind playing along. I will just keep some things to myself. I do trust my intuition and I like to know how things will turn out but that doesn’t mean I don’t try new things or work out a problem, or a recipe, using sensory data. In fact, as an artist and cook, I thrive on the imformation I gather through my senses.
No one playing the game has to know how I swoon at the scent of fresh rosemary as I brush against it in the garden or cut small fragrant branches to tie into a rosemary brush. They don't need to know how I savor the texture of marcona almonds and the way they feel against my teeth as I bite into them, firm yet giving. They don't have to understand the way the taste of salt on my tongue takes me back to my childhood and the many ways my Dad taught us to use the salt he sold for healing, softening, cleaning, or preserving.
No, people can see me as pragmatic and skeptical if they want to. Meanwhile I’ll just be over here, quietly working on my little food blog, savoring the sensual joys of cooking for family and friends.
The Pleasure of Herbs
And, speaking of rosemary, here is a particularly simple and sensual recipe using rosemary and almonds. I remembered it when I saw Marcona Almonds seasoned with Rosemary at Trader Joe’s. I bought a bag and took it to a meeting where I was providing refreshments. Everyone loved them.
I think it is great fun to find such interesting products readily available at Trader Joe’s and they are great for those days when you need a quick convenient snack. Still it is a fabulous sensory experience to cook these at home. The fresh rosemary is wonderfully fragrant as the almonds are frying. And the warm almonds, that are ready in minutes, are delightfully flavorful along with the skillet crisped fresh rosemary leaves. If you have almonds on hand and fresh rosemary in your garden this recipe will be quick, easy and an absolute pleasure to prepare.
Fried Almonds with Rosemary
Adapted from “My Kitchen in Spain” by Janet Mendel
2 cups unskinned whole almonds (or plain marcona almonds)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.
Add the almonds and rosemary. Cook, stirring constantly, until they are fragrant and toasted, approximately 1 – 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and sprinkle with sea salt.
Breathe in. Smile.
Serve and enjoy!