Saturday, November 22, 2008

back in the saddle

the trip to hong kong took quite a bit from me emotionally. now, that i have enough distance....i am able to recognize just how much. while i understand and accept that "this is just how it goes"....there are things that i like about my job and things that i do not. i realize it is still important to do all things well. yet, it doesn't prevent these things sort of things from taking their emotional tithe. i realized just how much it has all affected me when i didn't really want to cook anything since i've been back.

i re-entered the kitchen today...scrubbing and cleaning....and thinking. trying to work out quite a bit of the emotional chaos that is swirling around inside of me. when i look over the past year or so, i realize again how different my life is....how much i love this life.....it is as if i have been given this second chance.... a "do-over" if you will.

the big question in my head at the moment is "will i fuck this up?"...or even better..."is there even anything to fuck up?"

it is interesting how cooking can be a cathartic experience. for tonight's cuban-themed potluck dinner at the best friend's house, i had volunteered to make albondigas (i.e., cuban meatballs) with rice. so i brought out these humble ingredients that included green onions, yellow onions, and green pepper.

as i got to chopping the onions and pepper....the movement soothed me. again, the question "will i fuck this up?" arose again and again. practically my entire life i have followed the reasoning in my head. i've sat down and analyzed the shit out of things...from hundreds and hundreds of angles....and made relatively rational decisions about very big choices. most of the time it worked out pretty well and there is a particular case...well, as i have mentioned before....it was a rational choice that went very very badly.

once the aromatics were chopped, i gathered the onions, organic grass fed beef, crushed crackers, cumin, dry mustard, eggs, and milk into a bowl.....


and began to mix and knead with my hands. as i was mixing....


i thought "well, rational thoughts aside....what is it that you want?"......"what is it that you really want?"...."you know....but not with your head....you know....with that other body part that you sometimes cynically sneer at".

it was enough to make me want to stop making the meatballs altogether.

to acknowledge what i really want would mean to admit to a few things that i never planned on. some i will mention here and others i will not.

when i was a child i had decided to never be involved with anything that i couldn't walk away from. this stubborn and surly attitude was somewhat modified as i began to meet my now loved ones and family. it was through them that i realized that it is possible, acceptable, and wonderful to be committed to sharing lives....through ups and downs and everything in-between. many of these incredibly important relationships are approaching or have already entered a decade. when i reminded myself of this, i felt myself calm down a bit and i went back to kneading the meatball mixture...

once the kneading was done....the next step included scooping out the meat, cupping them into balls, and rolling them in flour.


i realized like how i was carefully shaping the spheres of meat and rolling them through the flour....that these wonderful relationships with chosen loved ones and family are also carefully tended. they are also tended mutually and not one-sidedly.

once the spheres were completed and browned in the hot olive oil, i nestled them in a casserole dish.....and covered them with a homemade tomato sauce filled with onion, green pepper, garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, and ketchup. then i placed the dish in the oven to finish.

as the smells permeated through my place...i thought more about what is going on inside. like the food finishing in the oven....i've been trying to absorb everything that has been going on. yet, by the time the dish was done....

i wasn't any closer to a resolution but for some reason.... that is ok.

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