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The Divine Mystery of the Culinary Arts, or That Somethin’ Special ’bout Cookin’

21 Mar

The Onyx Plate can likely agree with me on the small hints of intuition one gets while cooking. Sometimes, one is nudged to add a little of this, a little of that, or to simply leave out some aspect of the recipe. This sounds as though it could lead to critical mistakes, but that only happens when one leaves, say, lobster out of a recipe that is lobster-based, and even then some well-meaning vegans are capable of creating a substitute that works equally as well. That, however, is an example of the wisdom of planning and not spur-of-the-moment strokes of culinary genius.

Also, these miniature risks are well within reason, so it’s not a matter of just going crazy with the recipe. Still, the slight risk one takes while venturing into the unknown can be a great rush. Small steps into the unknown with minimal risk of failure are more appealing to me than huge leaps and bounds into something I can’t begin to comprehend. If you’re curious about what I mean, search for my blog on falafel to see that disaster.

Tonight, I made my second recipe out of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Also, because it’s a mouthful to say each time as I type my blogs, I’m going to begin abbreviating the title to VCE, so heads up.

The recipe in question was a butter sauce with sage, which went perfectly with the frozen Mrs. T’s pierogies that I boiled. I doubled the recipe and added tiny salad shrimp to it, and after the pierogies were boiled and drained, the shrimp-sage and butter sauce was poured over them.

I overestimated the number of pierogies I had left- only half a box, so the doubling of the sauce proved to be a skosh too much. However, for a full box of Mrs. T’s pierogies (12 count), the doubled recipe would be ideal.

The doubling of the recipe and adding of the salad shrimp dawned on me at the last moment, after the original sauce had been made.

What astounded me in the end was the actual perfection of the recipe. Nothing I’ve ever made hit my mouth and made me think it was absolutely perfect, but the truth is, this recipe was perfect, or at least close to perfect.

So what of the Divine Mystery? Before I even went to the kitchen, I said a short prayer, offering my cooking to God. While cooking, I repeated the dhikr as long as I could remember to do it. Thus, I reason that maybe God did intervene and guide me the whole time.

The Mystery is that I would’ve never thought to have put sage and parsley in butter, and this attests to the limitation of our ability to cook stems form our own human lack of creativity. Someone, somewhere, realized that sage would go well with butter.

This takes us to the next level of the Divine Mystery of cooking: food doesn’t always tell its secret immediately. Often we must coax it out, test it, discover it, mix it with something else in order for it to reveal its truth. In many ways, life is like that- life has special ingredients, timers, and methods to achieve particular results.

Sage is a perfect example. First, the word itself is beautiful, melodic even, and not only refers to the herb but also to wisdom. Second, by itself, the scent is almost overpowering and not charming. But when added to butter (or to other food in many cases), something changes, something is released in it, and the once overpowering scent infuses itself into a greater substance, playing its part, singing its note, and then and only then is its true essence revealed to us.

Again, we see this in life. People who seem to have no purpose and no place in life need only to be put where they’re really meant to be put, and then they will shine- something will change, and their true essence will play the part its meant to be play. Odd how I’m aware of this but am also aware that my full essence isn’t blooming and infusing earth as it should.

Also, lately I’ve fallen in love with garnishing food with bread crumbs. I fought myself tonight over whether or not to add bread crumbs to my already perfect recipe, and eventually I exercised my willpower to resist. I did sop up the leftover butter sauce in my bowl with french bread, though, which I understood as a compromise.

Carpe Diem!

Beaux

 

 


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2 Comments

Posted by on March 21, 2011 in food, spirituality

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “The Divine Mystery of the Culinary Arts, or That Somethin’ Special ’bout Cookin’

  1. The Onyx Plate

    March 22, 2011 at 5:15 am

    Love, love, love, love, love this post! A great thought to start my day with. My favorite part…..besides the whole thing…..”This takes us to the next level of the Divine Mystery of cooking: food doesn’t always tell its secret immediately. Often we must coax it out, test it, discover it, mix it with something else in order for it to reveal its truth. In many ways, life is like that- life has special ingredients, timers, and methods to achieve particular results.” Brilliance! 🙂

     
    • enamouredslave

      March 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm

      I had so much fun writing it, really! When and where it hit me, I have no idea, but I felt it really strongly.

       

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