Barriers to Invention

I had pork chops for dinner tonight. Pork chops require applesauce, as any proper and educated individual knows. However, my refrigerator was sadly bereft.

Groceries are slim in the stores at the moment, so we’re more in the “grab whatever is available to stock up” mode rather than the “carefully plan each meal” mode. So we had pork chops but no applesauce, and it’s not like it’s reasonable to currently pop out to the store for just one thing like that. (For posterity in case this is being read far enough in the future for that to be confusing – at the time of this writing, a global pandemic has disrupted a lot of our normal routines.)

But I looked around my kitchen. I had apples in large supply. How hard could it be to make applesauce? It can’t take much more than apples + effort.

That was correct. I chopped up some apples and added water, lemon juice and cinnamon. I blended them together and it made extremely good applesauce. Good enough that I’d actually rather have my own than any I bought in the store, though I’m sure store-bought will win out on convenience in plenty of future circumstances.

Convenience is a good thing. Our time is precious, and every second we spend making applesauce or changing our own oil or mowing our own lawn is a second we aren’t spending on things that bring us great joy. But at the same time, convenience isn’t guaranteed, and it’s a good idea to be able to adapt in inconvenient circumstances.

Applesauce might not truly have been essential; if I didn’t have apples, or a blender, I’m sure I would have survived eating undressed pork chops. But some things aren’t as easy to do without, and it’s a good idea to occasionally have to invent a Plan B on the fly. Maybe you just learn which things are worth it and which aren’t; maybe you learn that there were better ways to do things all along.

Maybe your kids tell you what delicious applesauce you made. Maybe it all works out.

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