Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Year of French Spice

The title of this post, is inspired by Haruki Murakami's short story named, "The Year of Spaghetti" (The New Yorker, November 21, 2005). The year he referred to is 1971.

The year 1971 is the year of Spaghetti of Murakami, I like that.

In it, he cooks the pasta alone, eats alone, gets a phone call from an ex-girl of his friend who asked about his friend's whereabout. It is a story when nothing else happens except that he really really pays attention to the cook of his Spaghetti.

At the end of the story, Murakami said, Italy does not know that in 1971, it exported nothing but loneliness.

Mukakami's pasta cooking, beer drinking and cans counting, sandwich making, packing for travels, counting of different things within sights, descriptions of smells of girl's newly washed hair, all shows the makes of that existential self-awareness, isolation and loneliness, but with pride, with relief and with a little tirdness. It is quiet, but hardly sad.

I don't cook Spaghetti, I am cooking french style dishes with a recipe book written in Chinese, so it is possible for me to follow without lossing my sanity. I began to learn to use the most basic french spcie and herbs, remembering their English and Chinese names and then identifying them in the West Side Market.

If you know me well, you know to use spices or herbs in some actions that resembles cooking, to me, is like when human beings first learned to use fire to cook their meat, it is existentially evolutionary.

Where have I been all these years? Not in the kitchen for sure. What a waste.
France does not know that in the year of 2009, the only thing it exports is learning to be staying grounded with style. I feels more real than ever.

One other good thing I learned from this exercise, cheap yet good wine are perfect, since you can drink and cook with them at the same time. Speaking of recession wines!

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