At work this week, I came across a webpage about academic integrity. Across the top of the page was a line by Sophocles – “Rather fail with honour…..
“…. than succeed by fraud.”
I thought about how many times I’ve failed and how I’ve never, ever, considered failure in any way honourable.
And yet the truth is, it really is so much more noble to fail with honour than succeed by fraud. Sophocles just re-framed failure for me. And it’s kind of brilliant. It’s a whole new way of looking at both failure and success. And this from a man who was born in 496 BC. He was writing 2500 years ago – more or less. That’s two thousand, five hundred years ago. And he’s still making perfect sense.
I scribbled the epigram onto a post-it note and stuck it in my diary. When I came home, I erased the weekly dinner menu on my chalkboard and wrote out the quotation instead. It’s the first time my kitchen chalkboard has had anything on it other than a menu.
Over the course of the weekend, I looked at the chalkboard and thought about Sophocles. Oedipus the King was on my high school reading list and even though I read it – I had no real concept of when it was written. Unbelievably, despite living at more than 25 different addresses around the world since high school, I still have my copy of the book. It has moved to Australia and back from Canada three times. It has lived in Melbourne, Vancouver, Calgary, Waterloo, Guelph, London, Brisbane and now finally – Kingston. It’s stamped $2.95 inside the front cover. If books could talk!
I picked the book up and started reading. I remember my fantastic high school English teacher reading it aloud dramatically – stopping to explain – asking us what the big concepts were. But the truth is, I think it was wasted on us. I’m probably ready now to start reading Sophocles.
Because I was reading Sophocles this weekend, instead of cooking, I whipped up a salad for dinner. And to go with the salad, I used up the last of my Dijon mustard in this dressing – recipe below. The dressing tastes like Cross and Blackwell English Salad Cream (a taste out of my childhood) – for those of you who know how that tastes. Delicious. Addictive. It’s healthy too – especially if you use the apple cider vinegar. I recommend serving it with a big salad of organic greens, hot olives, hard-boiled eggs, cold sliced potatoes, and sliced avocado. Call it dinner.
The salad dressing jar, by the way, has a chalkboard lid. I found this fantastic idea on an Australian blog I follow – Brown Paper Belle – http://brownpaperbelle.com/2013/07/05/spice-up-your-life/. Here’s a photo from Brown Paper Belle.
I went out and bought a can of chalkboard spray paint and sanded down a few lids. I’m still searching for the fabulous chalk marker. In the meantime – regular chalk will have to suffice.
Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellmann’s)
2 tbsp honey
Whisk the ingredients together and pour into a bottle. Will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.