We are constantly told to obey the law of moderation. Everyone from doctors and scientists to advertisements on television give us subtle, but constant reminders on what we should (and should not) be doing with our minds and our bodies. They warn us that we should be practicing moderation in everything from the way we eat to our activity levels or else. This idea of moderation pervades every aspect of our lives, spreading the belief that we may have a taste, but never take a bite. They tell us that if we practice moderation we will be healthier and happier, more wholesome and financially secure.
I disagree with the idea of moderating all of the elements of our lives. The rules governing moderation are strict and unforgiving. There is no room for error, for spontaneity, for the variety in life that only midnight snacks and staying up too late can bring. I want to replace the notion of moderation with one of balance. Life doesn't have to mean a eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning. It can (and should) mean the occasional hot fudge brownie sundae, too.
I'm happy to see that Julia Child feels the same way.
One glance at the three hundred sweet recipes on this blog and it's easy to come to the conclusion that my counter tops are lined with as many sweets as a bakery shelf. The reality is far from that truth. While I do eat my fair share of baked goods, the food on these pages often finds its way into friends' stomachs and onto coworkers' plates. I try to eat healthy outside of baking and, for the most part, I succeed. I try to make it to the gym for a couple hours a few times a week. I drink eight glasses of water and eat fruit and vegetables every single day. In many regards, I am the model of someone trying to practice moderation. However, as anyone could tell you, a dessert blogger is never going to achieve the ideals of moderation.
While there is a place for moderation in balance, there isn't necessarily a place for balance in moderation.
Last night I threw moderation to the wind. While watching my latest guilty pleasure, I sat down on the couch with a jar of peanut butter, a spoon, and a handful of toffee. I nibbled the toffee and ate spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar. By the end of the show, the toffee had disappeared along with half of the jar. After a week of eating well and exercising regularly, a little indulgence just felt right. The truth is that I need small indulgences here or there to help me stay on a healthier (and happier) path. While moderation may frown at my indulgences, shaking its head in disappoint, balance embraces me for them, telling me to lick the spoon clean.
Good or bad, right or wrong, this is how I maintain the balance in my life. This is what works just right for me.
Hot Bourbon Apple Cider is a hot drink for cozy evenings. The ingredients are few, but the taste will bring warmth back into chilled limbs. Spiced apple cider is heated before combining with a shot of bourbon and a splash of orange juice. A cinnamon stick to stir the concoction together adds a hint of extra flavor. While drinking only one of these Hot Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktails would be practicing moderation, drinking two might just maintain the balance in your life.
Hot Bourbon Apple Cider
Yields 2 small cocktails
3/4 cup (180 ml) spiced apple cider
1/4 cup (60 ml) bourbon
Splash of fresh orange juice
Cinnamon stick & apple slices, for garnish
Heat apple cider to boiling in a small saucepan on the stove. Remove from heat and divide evenly between glasses. Add half the bourbon to each glass and a splash of fresh orange juice. Add a cinnamon stick to each glass and apple slices for garnish. Serve hot.