Living the Sweet Life: Change is Hard

By Alisa Murray
Nationally recognized
portrait artist and award-
winning columnist.

Let it be known that I do not like change! Let me remind you that I have worn the same wig since 1994 when I found it in Dallas. I fell in love with the ease of snapping it on my head and looking perfectly ready for anything. It also reminded me of my mother, who was killed when I was eight in an auto-train accident. She wore her hair in a bun, and there was, and still is, some comfort in wearing that wig and a subconscious ode to her. My Brian has been bearded since we started dating. I explained to him, when he told me at 17 that he was in love with me, that I required a beard at all times. He has had a beard for 30 years. So, before I share this Sweet Life rant, you should know where I am coming from. Change is an aggravating part of living, unfortunately, but some changes can, and I would argue should, be avoided.

It started when I went to the drive thru at our local Chick-fil-A and discovered, much to my shagrin, that their chicken salad had been removed from their menu! In a huff, I reluctantly accepted the fact that I could no longer grab that beautiful concoction with the hint of their signature dilled chicken any longer and enjoy it on a saline cracker. A few months later, I stepped into my local Zoe’s to discover they had removed the spinach salad! Where are we supposed to go to have that I wondered? It was perfect, clean and most importantly, not on my food allergy list! Grumbling under my breath I reluctantly chose another entree and then proceeded to “let them know” just how disappointed I was at this decision.

Fernando’s Corvina, otherwise known as “Angel’s Kiss.”

A few months later, it happened yet again! We were just settling into our favorite little Italian restaurant in Pearland when I ordered my pork chop with cherry balsamic glaze only to be met with a sincere apology that they had decided to remove that from the menu, too. And folks, that was when I lost it. I started out by explaining that I had so many food allergies, and I had been so excited to taste that dish. What’s more, they had not even added back a pork chop to the “new” menu. Ugh! The poor waiter was startled and probably scared if you asked Brian and James Edward, who at this point were trying to dissolve themselves into their chairs. The owner quickly came over and said she would make my dish. She apologized for removing it and sure enough, that day I had that wonderful glazed pork. Would she produce it the next time I came? Would she listen to me? Why, oh why?  If you have something great, expected even, would you just take it away?

Brandani’s Fried Chicken and Jalapeño Gravy, otherwise known as “Crack.”

I cook a lot. I have my own garden, and I get more likes on my food posts than I do on my photography of children.  My “food porn” of dishes that I posted over the holidays received over 1,000 likes. I get it. I love food, too. When I cook, I tweak this and that, and I rarely ever even look at a recipe unless it’s to give me an idea of what ingredients to use. That being said, when I produce a dish that is truly amazing, I make a note as to what I did so I can repeat it. When I go out to pick food up, I expect consistency. At the restaurants I love, I want to have the comfort of knowing “my dish” is there for the grabbing. When that consistency is fiddled with, it rattles me and makes me quite mad.

So, here’s a little shout out to two of my favorites. Ron and Claire of Brandani’s Restaurant, please know that I am in love with your fried chicken and jalapeño gravy. You’ll recall I referred to it as “crack” in my column.  Fernando dear, your corvina fish bathed in butter and wine I would absolutely die for. To the both of you, I am begging you, please do not ever take these off your menus! You are a success when people become endeared to the things you create and come to expect those things to be a part of their daily lives. Your restaurants are an extension of spaces I consider my home.

Life is full of stuff we can’t change. People grow old and go away. Despite that fact, our lives are enriched by comforts of sameness that never have to change. We should have that more, I think.

Take Care of YOU!