An easy-peasy pie crust recipe will call for mixing, oh, two-and-a-half cups of flour and a teaspoon of salt, to which you add butter—unsalted, if you prefer—that has been cut into small cubes. Knead the mixture until you get coarse crumbs. Then, one tablespoon at a time, add cold water and continue kneading until you can form a small ball. Get a rolling pin and roll out the dough till it fits your pie pan. Make sure to press the dough evenly onto the bottom and the sides of the pan and, for good measure, prick the dough several times with a fork before shoving it into the oven to bake.
With a no-fuss recipe such as the one I gave you, it’s damn near impossible to mess up and, if followed to the letter, is guaranteed to yield a flaky crust. Ergo, pie crusts, by nature, are easily made and, not surprisingly, easily broken. Know what else are easily made and easily broken? Resolutions for the New Year, which should have been obvious given the context of the question. All resolutions begin by mixing all-purpose good intentions with some grains of salt just to keep things real, to which one adds some form of lard—usually yes-I-can statements—kneaded together until crumbly, to which is spooned icy resolve. The end-product, after being rolled out into a list and pricked by one’s conscience, is a delicate morsel that will be all gone the day after.
The key to honoring one’s resolutions is avoiding setting oneself up for failure. We all should follow President Duterte’s example. 2018 has barely started and he has kept his resolutions. First, he resolved to banish the firecrackers that send so many idiots to the emergency rooms in the first few hours of every New Year. The ban saw the reduction by 68 per cent of firecracker-related injuries, compared to the same period last year, which has sent hospitals and the Department of Health purring. Parents thank the President, Mother Nature thanks him, Metro Aides sing his praises, and Filipinos in general should be grateful: lighting firecrackers is tantamount to burning bills of money and all for what? Not happy are the manufacturers and peddlers of the stuff in Bulacan, whose livelihoods have been impacted by poor sales. My view: Executive Order No. 28 is a commendable exercise of police power.
January 1 also marks the day President Duterte’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion takes effect. The President has resolved to make Build, Build, Build the theme of his administration. TRAIN, the first caboose of a comprehensive tax reform program, has left the station and is choo-cooing its way toward funding the P3.767 trillion budget that the President approved for this fiscal year. TRAIN, its proponents claim, will benefit some 83 per cent of taxpayers by exempting those whose personal income does not exceed earn P250,00 per year. The reduced collection will be made up by increased taxes on fuel, vehicles, cigarettes and sugary beverages. This is one presidential resolution to which I harbor some ambivalence. Business will not shoulder the increased tax burden with atlantean charity—it will, instead, shift the cost to consumers. In the end—and I pray this does not come to pass—the money that taxpayers are supposed to save will come to nothing because they will have to pay more for pricier goods and services.
On a personal note, I want to share with Dear Readers a prayer that is pertinent to resolutions. It is meant to be said on the first day of the year. I have no idea of its authorship and I make no claims to it, but I shall share it with everyone because prayers are meant to be shared anyway.
“O God, ever blessed and eternal. I thank You that today You have allowed me to begin a new year. Here in Your presence, I make my resolutions for the days to come. I resolve:
“To be faithful and true to those who love, and loyal to those who are my friends, so that I may never bring distress to their hears;
“To live in forgiveness and in kindness, that I may go about ever doing good;
“To live in goodness and purity, that I may resist temptation and may be a strength to others who are tempted;
“To live in sympathy and gentleness, that I may bring comfort to the sorrowing and understanding to the perplexed;
“To live in serenity and self-control, that no anger and no passion may disturb my own peace and the peace of others;
“To live in full obedience to You and in Your perfect love, that in doing Your will I may find my peace.
“O God my Father, grant me the strength to keep these resolutions all this year, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” G