Rain slamming on the windows, rolling deep and heavy from the belly of a pitch black cloud. Wind brutalizing the trees, putting them into the side of the house with a rasp and a clatter that is muted by the sturdy walls of my home and muted further still by the still pool that is my concentration. Fingers on the tang of the blade, whispering through the backs of the mushrooms and clicking on the scarred face of my hand-me-down cutting board like a metronome. Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick and I slide them to the side and pull the carrots into my workspace. Quartered and julienned to the tick-tick-tick as the rain falls from that wispy black widow drifting over Tacoma and my fingers dance deftly to stay out from under the blade (been there, done that.)
The carrots are done and the smell of broth maturing ushers me away from the cutting board. I leave the un-chopped bok choy grudgingly, peel the lid off the stew pot where the dried shitakes are un-drying in a cloudy, churning broth. The spoonful that I tease out of it is meaty-tasting and laced with onion and garlic bits, but it needs more time, so I lid it again and return to the bok choy, which is just hopping for some chopping. I’ll be wok frying those little sons of bitches in some sesame oil and fish sauce when that’s done. Pinch of Cayenne, little salt and pepper. The pot on the back burner is roaring at me, lid rattling, about to boil over. Spin and kill the heat, ease two eggs down into it and set a timer for exactly 7 minutes, drop the bok choy and the carrots and mushrooms into the wok. The sizzle is apocalyptic. A gunfight in a cymbal factory and I push my veggies around and whisper sweet nothings to them as the storm rages fitfully outside my tranquil home outside my tranquil mind.
Writing about food has become something to me that I hadn’t expected it to be. When I started, food was something that I enjoyed and to which I devoted a little extra time when I was hungry. It was salty or sweet. It was fast or good. But when I sat in front of a keyboard and forced myself to explain food, it blossomed for me. It exploded. I began to treat food the way Buddhist monks treat life, with presence and awareness and love, especially love. It changed everything. It filled the city in which I live with adventure and mystery. Suddenly, Chef’s and cooks held magic in their hands, flung it with a fatalistic gusto onto the tables of people lost in their phones and numb to the wonder steaming in front of them. Suddenly food held secrets. It told stories. And the more I listened to the stories, the more I wanted to learn to tell them myself. The more I wanted to hold the magic.
Which brings me back to my windswept kitchen and the roar of vegetables in a hot wok. The mumble of bubbles through a maturing broth. The smell of sesame oil and salt. Dishes pulling me around the kitchen like a puppet on a string, cut this, season that, peel it, heat it, taste it as my mind hangs weightless in the midst of it all, unmoved by the ringing phone or the falling rain or the driving wind. Present only for the food.
noun UK /ˌmed.ɪˈteɪ.ʃən/ US /ˌmed.əˈteɪ.ʃən/
› the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed:
prayer and meditation
Ive attached some links to some pretty killer homemade ramen recipes. I would suggest slamming a couple of them together, unplugging your internet and getting UP. IN. THERE. Give your noodles a good listenin’ to.