Posted in my everyday life by Maria on 2012/01/21

meyer lemon curd

A little over a year ago, I had a breast reduction.

I’ve vacillated over whether or not I would share this information in a place so clearly attached to my name. But there’s no shame in talking about our bodies, these vessels that carry us. So, fair heeding: I am writing today about something private and something uncomfortable. Please look away if it isn’t for you.

Having a breast reduction consumed my thoughts for so many years, from the time I realized the difficulties that come from having a small body and giant breasts. It made me so unhappy, but I was resigned to my life of modified yoga poses, intense backaches, and swearing off strapless dresses. Make the best of the hand you’re dealt, I’d say. It’s selfish and vain to have an elective procedure when you’re healthy. It’s not your place to alter a genetic destiny for sake of convenience. What will people say? And aren’t all plastic surgeons so sleazy? I shamed myself – deeply – into indecision.

One day, this constant monologue quit. We put so much stock in what others will think – how they will judge – when we make a change, especially one that’s outwardly detectable. But nobody did. My family cheered me on (loudly), my best friends were extra-ordinary supports, and if semi-strangers noticed, I never caught on. When I finally put the pieces into action, the most difficult part was overcoming my fear of a very real and serious elective procedure for a non-life-threatening condition.

My breast reduction was one of the best things I’ve ever done. For my health, mobility and awareness of my body – things that matter to make a good life. I spent my first 24 years partitioning my vessel from my identity, believing my body was something other than me because it restricted me. Cutting away flesh made room for so much more in my life that has nothing to do with appearance. I found a surgeon who wasn’t sleazy. Rather he was kind and upfront and generous with his immense talent. He chose plastics because it let him create the most extraordinary invisible changes for people: he reconstructed bodies to help mend all the broken things inside of them. He told me: “I’m going to change your life, Maria, not just your rack,” and I still laugh because his words are so true, if a bit crass.

Perhaps it is most significant that the experience has made me less judgmental toward others and their decisions, made with the best evidence in their hands. I’ll never know the entire story.

As with so many things, my breasts are really a way to talk about something else – action. One of my favourite bands has a really poignant lyric: “But the time is never right / No it’s never right / To step outside her life / To find what’s been lost / She’ll sleep on it tonight.” How often do we vow to change something – a behaviour, a habit, a state of mind – but keep telling ourselves that we’ll sleep on it? Make the call in the morning. Wait for a tidy January 1st, for tidy resolution.

And there we are, never stepping outside this life made up of our little decisions and their multitude effects.

This leap made me vow to grab future opportunities rough and hard, and run fast with them, and to be my own judge. To not ponder so darn much over the pros and cons and consequences that are mostly in my head.

Meyer Lemon Curd

Meyer lemons are fleeting – they come in December and January and then poof! Gone for another year. If you find a bag, as they are most often sold at the grocery store, this is the perfect use. I love the tangy curd layered with unsweetened cream, sandwiched between shortbread, or freezing cold and right off the spoon from the fridge.

Method based loosely on Alton Brown’s Lemon Curd.

5 whole, very fresh egg yolks
1 cup white sugar
5 meyer lemons, zested and juiced (yield: about 1/2 cup juice, 2 Tbsp zest)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pats and chilled
pinch of salt

1 medium heatproof metal bowl
1 medium saucepan
1 spatula
1 whisk

To a medium saucepan, add about one inch of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Add meyer lemon juice and zest and whisk until very smooth and bright yellow, about a minute.

Reduce heat to low and place mixing bowl over saucepan (like a double-boiler). Whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is bright but mellow yellow and coats your spatula. Promptly remove from heat and add butter, stirring completely to melt after each pat. The final product should be very glossy and smooth.

Store cooled curd in a clean glass container with a layer of cling film directly on its surface. It keeps refrigerated up to two weeks.

Makes about 2 cups of curd.

13 Responses

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  1. Sameer Vasta said, on 2012/01/23 at 12:06

    Your decision to act, to do something that you needed to do for yourself, has been an inspiration and support to me in some of the big decisions I’ve made in the past year, too. Thank you.

    (And thanks for the meyer lemon curd recipe — I really enjoyed having it for dessert at our pre-Christmas dinner!)

  2. Ben Babcock said, on 2012/01/23 at 14:25

    Thank you for sharing something so personal, Maria. I’m glad that you chose to do something that has ultimately made you happier and healthier.

    Lately I find myself weighing pros and cons endlessly as I consider my future after graduation. Will I have to move away to get a job? Where should I move? After watching presentations at a job fair on Friday, teaching in the UK looks very attractive—but as someone who has never lived on his own at all, I don’t know if I could possibly move to another continent just like that. Sometimes I find myself so overwhelmed by all my possible futures that it’s so hard to see clearly which one is the right one for me.

  3. shannalee said, on 2012/01/25 at 15:49

    “Perhaps it is most significant that the experience has made me less judgmental toward others and their decisions, made with the best evidence in their hands. I’ll never know the entire story.”

    I like this very much.

  4. Maria said, on 2012/01/26 at 23:45

    Sameer: I think I know exactly what you mean, and thank you! Leaping is much easier with a parachute. ;)

    Ben! It’s crazy for me to think that I’ve known you since you were just starting your degree – and now you’re nearly a teacher. How quickly time goes. My two cents: I weighed what I wanted to do post-undergrad so much. (PhD? MPA? MBA? Med school? Working world? Some combination thereof?) I think I planned each of those paths at some point in my final year. In the end, it was what made sense at a gut level, not through any rational analysis. You will chose the “right” future, I am sure.

    Shanna: Thank you. It’s incredible how one decision can alter your worldview, but it can.

  5. Kim said, on 2012/01/28 at 16:26

    I dear friend commented on a blog of mine last week saying “life is too short to hate part of you”. A. Men. I’m happy you were so brave. To do it and to blog it. =-)

  6. s said, on 2012/02/01 at 14:36

    a beautiful, brave post. happy new year. x s

  7. Lan said, on 2012/02/06 at 14:41

    i came home from Vietnam just a few days ago, and in my rush to stock up the abode again, i came across a bag of meyer lemons. alas, not organic, but still, better than nothing, i just won’t consume the peels. i am undecided if i want to make them into a curd or preserve them. if i make them into a curd, i would use this recipe.

    maria, thank you for sharing such a deeply personal story.

  8. Maria said, on 2012/02/06 at 14:45

    Kim: A-men, indeed. Life is too short to hate any part of ourselves.

    Shayma: Thank you – happy 2012!

    Lan: I know, I leapt with joy when I found an bag of organic ones – but the juice is potent enough that you can get by without the zest. Welcome home. :)

  9. Preena @ A Teaspoon of Turmeric said, on 2012/02/27 at 16:01

    Maria, thank you for sharing your very personal experience, which may allow others to act and think about what necessary changes in life are needed to live more peacefully and happily. Not sure if you caught the recent episode of 20/20, if not you can watch it online. Interviewees testified after making such changes how much better they felt – have a look, it was interesting.

  10. Giuseppina Pych said, on 2012/03/14 at 05:42

    Failure or success in business is caused more from the mental attitude even when compared with mental capacities.
    I’ve never felt like I had been within the cookie business. I’ve always been in the happy feeling business. My job is to sell joy. My job is always to sell happiness. My job is always to sell an event.

  11. [...] Recipe and a story here: [...]

  12. Curd | Fat Modeling said, on 2013/01/06 at 14:09

    [...] Recipe and a story here: [...]

  13. […] Recipe and a story here: […]

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