By Little Red Shoes, Contributing Editor for HotSaltBeef&Mustard

I’m browsing a bookstore in search for, A World of Breads by Dolores Casella — I’m searching for a recipe for Palappam, an ancient Malabar Jewish pancake dish.

But somehow, I end up lingering for a while in the Self Help/Psychology’ section, which should’ve been named Love/Getting it Right’. It seems that anybody who ever earned a PhD (or tried to), has an opinion on this topic.

Finding-LoveI’m looking at, Men are from Mars Women are from Venus, Taoist Secrets of Love, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples and How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving… just to mention a few titles jumping at me from the shelves.

Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet amuses me for a moment… there a few people who could benefit from reading it… Any who, baking bread is much higher on my agenda and I escape quickly to the ‘Cooking/Baking & Recipes’ section. After all, people have been baking bread for as long as they’ve tried to understand the meaning of love…

Was it Queen who sang ‘Crazy little thing called love?’

They had a point… because these days, one would think with the Internet, dating apps etc. that finding love would be easy-peasy. One of my friends thinks so too, because in a recent conversation he said to me: “There are so many dating websites these days, you only have yourself to blame if you’re still single or not at least getting ‘a little bit on the side.’”

However, shortly afterwards, I came across an article in which the co-founder of a leading relationship-focused gay and lesbian dating site, OneGoodLove.com, Nicholas Martin, surprisingly gave the following advice to singletons:

“You may never find someone. No matter how hard you try, how many dating sites you subscribe to, how many dates you go on, how many frogs you kiss, the unfortunate statistical truth is that not everyone finds the man or woman of his or her dreams.”

Seriously? That’s not exactly encouraging for those of us who so far have been unlucky in love…

In this recent column on Huffington Post Gay Voices, Nicholas said that his only intention for sharing this ‘harsh reality’ is for it to serve as a catalyst for people to realise that regardless of their relationship status, they can be happy, whole, and in love with their own lives.

Based on his experience in the online dating business, he has noted that a lot of people believe that in order to be happy they need to find a partner or meet someone. He says: “Some people go as far as acting desperate, miserable, and unhappy admittedly as a result (in their own minds) of being single.

These unfortunate people would argue that it’s a “chicken before the egg” dilemma, where they could only possibly be happy after they were to find someone.”

Let’s see. Here’s what I’m getting from this: If you’re dredging through a meagre existence and blaming it on the fact that you are single, chances are that the only people you will attract are going to be other dredgers to console you in your solitude.

That does not sound like the kinda party I want to be invited to… Just sayin.

Nicolas added: “When I hear the majority of my friends and countless members of my LGBT dating site talk about the kind of man or woman they’re looking for, usually the following words sum it up: successful, happy, attractive, sexy, committed, talented, etc.

“What many people fail to realize is that in regards to people in this ideal contingent, opposites do not attract. They are often looking for a life partner with similar characteristics.”

So, really, what Nicholas says is: charity begins at home. To find love, you have to be in love with yourself and your life first… then the search for the man or woman of your dreams might just be a little bit less disappointing…

The ancient Jewish Malabar bread, Palappam

The ancient Malabar Jewish pancake, Palappam

However, if like me, you are not a bigwig on matters of the heart, resort to making some Palappam…

The recipe for these ancient delights goes something like this: First fry some rice flour and set it aside. Then, add a small amount of lukewarm water to yeast and sugar and wait till it rises. Once risen, add semolina to a bit of water and boil it till it’s thick. Leave the semolina to cool off. Once cooled, mix the semolina with the rice flour and the yeast into a very soft dough.

Rest the dough overnight.

In the morning, mix the dough with coconut milk and a pinch of salt until it gets a loose consistency. Use a special utensil, called appa kal (mold), to fry your paper-thin pancakes… Careful, they break easy.

Some believe, the secrets to someone’s heart, hide in their stomach. So, eat your Palappam, share your Palappam and enjoy your Pallapam, together…

When you’re done, clean up the mess in your kitchen and think of what the Sufi mystic Rumi, said: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

Simple?