Salt + chocolate, knitting + whiskey

by Kristin on December 2, 2011

in Culture, ideas & paradigms

knitting and whiskey; bible and beer; makes me curious for what you have on friday nights! (via @stephdavidson)

Yep, that tweet was directed at me (and my mom is surely cringing as she reads this). It has been a week filled with some of my favorite activities and favorite people (and lest anyone get concerned, my Friday night will not revolve around any alcoholic beverages).

Clearly I’m a fan of unexpected combinations. I realize there’s a risk that they come across as nothing more than hipster gimmicks, but the fact that they genuinely speak to some remote part of me in a powerful way got me thinking. Something special happens when two things I enjoy are brought together in the right combination. It’s like when I tasted dark chocolate with sea salt for the first time (and every other time since, for that matter). Boom! A flavor explosion that makes me sit up, take notice, and forever think differently about both chocolate and salt. (My love for that combination also inspired me to try bacon chocolate. Who knows what’s next?)

Our regular Bible & Beer sessions are just like that. I love a good theology discussion, but if you put that discussion in a church basement with bad coffee, all that theology tends to hit my senses with an effect similar to the coffee: It tastes old but at least it’s warm and gives me something to help pass the time. If you take the theology—especially a big, churchy concept like Incarnation, which is what we talked about last night—out of the church and into a bar, the discussion can’t help but be different.

And then there are the people these surprising combinations attract. Take knitting and whiskey. Let’s say I would enjoy hanging out with 50 percent of all knitters and 50 percent of all whiskey drinkers (I’m probably being generous, there). But knitters who like whiskey? I’m going to say I would LOVE spending time with 95 percent of those folks. (The same goes for the Bible and beer combo, as long as the people who like both are also willing to engage in both simultaneously. That’s an important distinction—a willingness to not compartmentalize the things we love.)

So what’s the point? Well, it’s Friday, so I’m not going to take the whole “point” thing too far. I just think it’s healthy to mix things up in our lives when we can and to kick some stereotypes in the teeth while we’re at it. This also makes me think of my old Love List Project, and why I believe it’s important to further refine who we are and what we love. After all, the only person who gets to define “normal” for you is YOU.

Can you think of other unexpected combinations that say something important about you?

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  • ed cyzewski

    I love gardening and ice hockey. It has been really fun to meet guys at my church who like both things. Part of my growth over the years has been finding ways to balance time with my family alongside some of the leisure activities I enjoy. While I don’t watch my team (the Flyers) play every single game, there are nights when my wife gives me the space I need to catch a game or to poke around in the garden.

  • Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams

    I was wowed by dark chocolate and sea salt too – I think the value of these combinations is that they wake us up.

    I’m not a whiskey girl, but oh how I’d love to join you for a knitting session, Kristin. Thanks, as always, for a thoughtful reminder to pay attention to our lives.

  • Brad

    Whiskey and anything.

  • Nicola

    My sister (and our mom) likes potato chips with fresh lemon juice

    I like Frank’s red hot sauce on popcorn. And dark chocolate and sea salt.

    I absolutely loved it when our local community center had a few months last fall where you could swim at 8pm on Wednesdays and they turned all of the pool lights off except the underwater lights and then played jazz recordings. Swimming laps in that environment was truly one of the sublime experiences of my life. Enough to make me fantasize about having a lap pool in my house, when I’m generally not drawn to “luxury” fantasies!

    I also really, really love to run in the rain. I don’t like to go out in it, but once I’m out, it’s amazing.

    I’m sure there are many more examples. Thanks for making me think about them!

  • suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter}

    my friend stef and i were nerding out to a west side story themed episode of glee and realized there probably aren’t a lot of sarcastic, darkly humored folks who also like a good broadway musical:)

  • The Modern Gal

    I can name a list of things I love but I’m trying to figure out an unexpected combination. Maybe cold weather and baseball?

  • Ray Hollenbach

    How can you be far from the Kingdom of God? The perfect, holy, sinless Son of God was completely at home with prostitutes, tax collectors, and “sinners.” He made a pretty potent community from that mix.

  • Kristin T. (@kt_writes)

    ed, I love the hockey and gardening combo! It makes me think of my dad, who loves opera and hockey (well, all sports). Part of what I think I love about these unusual combos is that they seem to point to a person who’s just in touch with who they are and willing to be completely themselves rather than accept society’s type-casting.

    Katie, yes to this: “…the value of these combinations is that they wake us up.” I need more of those moments in my life. I think that’s the beauty of contrast, whether it’s something we’re living or observing. (Also, I would *love* to spend some knitting time together!)

    Brad, I hear you (even though that’s not exactly an usual combination… :)

    Nicola, I love hearing about new odd flavor combinations! And the swimming example is a great one, because it takes a “regular” activity and makes you experience it in a completely new way.

    suzannah, well, you can add me to your little club! (And West Side Story is one of my favorites.)

    The Modern Gal, it is pretty funny when two things you love don’t work together at all (assuming that by “cold weather” you mean wintry snow). But I certainly don’t think you have to force the unexpected combinations, as long as you’re embracing them as they come.

    Ray, I hadn’t even taken my thoughts there, but Jesus was full of the unexpected (and even viewpoints that were apparent paradoxes, like the first shall be last). Even his disciples, who knew him best, often assumed wrongly about what he would do or want. Interesting…

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