Taylor: One-size-fits-all doesn’t fit anything

Complex issues demand complex resolutions. One-size solutions just don't cut it.

I know how to boil an egg. I can fry bacon with minimal supervision. I can even reheat macaroni and cheese in the microwave.

Obviously, I am not a gourmet chef.

The other day, I opened my wife’s spice drawer. What a rainbow of smells! What a symphony of delectable names, all arranged in alphabetical order: basil, cayenne, chili, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, curry, dill, garlic, ginger, mace, marjoram, onion, oregano, paprika, sage, tarragon, turmeric.

Each one has its own distinct taste and smell, its own particular use in a particular recipe.

I have a great suspicion of one-size-fits-all solutions for anything. It doesn’t work with pantyhose, and it doesn’t work with life.

No cook would ever suggest that a single spice will suit every recipe, be it sage or cinnamon. Every dish requires—nay, demands—its own unique blend of herbs and spices for its special flavour.

I’m not claiming that the chosen spices are defined by some kind of divine edict. Innovation is always possible. Our daughter has an intuitive understanding of what each spice does. “This casserole could use a pinch of paprika,” she’ll say. She’s usually right.

But outside of the kitchen, we resort too often to those one-size-fits-all (OSFA) answers.

Anything related to economics relies on perpetual growth. Anything else implies failure.

In politics, the Holy Grail is a majority that can ride roughshod over the self-interests of minorities.

In scientific circles, research must produce tangible results. Preferably, commercially marketable results. But sometimes it’s just as important to prove that something doesn’t work.

Massive doses of vitamin C, or vitamin D, or probiotic yogurt, attempt to impose an OSFA treatment on vastly different diseases.

Religion has its own OSFAs. The solution to everything, from physical abuse to substance addiction to embezzlement, is to turn your life over to Jesus. Or Krishna. Or whoever.

Various branches of Christianity established their own narrow gates. You need the right kind of conversion experience, or of baptism. You must accept the authority of a particular person or creed or confession. You should speak with the right kind of tongues, or use the right theological terminology.

Bumper stickers that proclaim “Christ is the answer” make me wonder, “What was the question?”

Life is far more complicated than a cooking recipe. We wouldn’t use the same recipe for squash soup as we would for Chateaubriand, or the same spices for a Bengal curry as for an alfredo sauce.

So why the appeal of a simplistic solution for everything?

I suspect it means that most of us are about as ignorant about ethics as I am about haute cuisine.

Of course, sometimes a black-and-white decision is necessary. A friend mocks the idea of a referee applying “situation ethics” in a Monday night football game.

But I suggest that it’s equally ludicrous to expect a whistle-tootin’ Jesus—or any other guru figure—to flag a five-yard penalty in family quarrels, financial finagles, or medical controversies. Complex situations simply don’t lend themselves to simple answers.

A good bouillabaisse demands more culinary sensitivity than toasting a slice of bread.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$220K for Okanagan Rail Trail loo

Successful proposal for Westkal Road comes ‘well within project budget’

Kelowna’s Gallagher’s Canyon announced as course participating in BC Golfathon for ALS

The initiative raises awareness and funds for the ALS Society of BC

Flair Airlines adds Kelowna to new summer schedule

Flair will be delaying the launch of service into Ottawa and Atlantic Canada

Kelowna Art Gallery offers free admission for June

The gallery reopened its doors with restrictions on June 2

WATCH: North Okanagan golf cart stolen, then returned

Homeowners have footage of two men taking the cart and then bringing it back

Drive-thru window smashed after suspect receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen pre-approves temporary expanded patios during COVID-19 pandemic

Blanket pre-approval granted to all licensees within regional district’s boundaries

UBC announces downtown Kelowna campus

Construction not anticipated to begin for two years, due to zoning processes

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Titanic fails to successfully cross Atlantic a second time

I can hold her in my two hands. She is tiny and… Continue reading

Osoyoos man arrested, charged with possession of child pornography

Shawn Barry Titus, 37, was arrested at a motel in Osoyoos on May 21

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Most Read