yeah, i've been gone for quite awhile. i know, but i'm back with a vengeance. i've been feeling a little under the weather -- mostly emotionally, but i won't bore you with all that bullshit -- but cooking up a storm still. it's funny when you get inundated with life in ways you'd forgotten. i suppose there are these moments when i look up and realize i live in the middle of the country, far away from my family and some of my best friends, missing a life that i thought i was leaving for the betterment of me and my chilly-bs only to discover that, perhaps, i need to do more soul searching than i would like to find out what it is i REALLY want out of my time on earth. i know what you're thinking "um, thanks, but what about food?" let me wax rhapsodic for a minute, if ya don't mind, and i'll get to the grub, because there's a point to all of this. really.
for me, as you've discovered, food has a sort of mystical, magical artistic pull that helps me lose myself for awhile in its wonder. i can go all over the world through my cooking and disappear for hours in my mind by just putting together an elaborate, well thought out meal that will transport others when they taste it. that's one of the beauties of cooking for me. the way it can create a whole environment, mood, totally sensual experience from one bite (good or bad, right?). i've traveled all through asia these last weeks, because i've been devoting myself to japanese home cooking and asian fare with a vengeance. my sons have been kind enough to roll with it and let me indulge that part of myself in the kitchen, but my writing is suffering because of my flibbertigibbetness and that just won't do. i must get myself back in front of my blank screen or blank piece of paper and write some of this stuff out of me -- it's funny, because it's just bubbling inside of me like a wild geyser of creativity and is bouncing off the walls of my mind, so you'd think i'd be writing all the time, wouldn't you? it's not writer's block that has me frozen, it's the distinct LACK of writer's block, the shear volume of shit in my mind that needs to get down on the page that has me intimidated and freaked. and, so, i cook. a lot. tons and as often as i can get myself into the kitchen. k'yeah. if i could sell some of this shit, i'd be making a nice little bit of side dough (no pun intended, people).
and, so, food, cooking, creating in the kitchen has been all consuming in a way i hadn't know i was capable of doing. oh, sure, i made a commitment to cook out of one cookbook a night and now i've even upped the stakes by choosing one cookbook to focus on exclusively for one month -- we're on that killer Japanese home-cooking book i told you guys about before, LET'S COOK JAPANESE! and it's been AWESOME! -- but there's something about this getting in the kitchen and making things happen that has taken me over in a way that sorta baffles me. NOT cooking makes me antsy. going to restaurants is SO not what i like to do anymore and i enjoy going out to eat, hang, just enjoy life beyond my four walls. so, am i becoming a weird recluse? a cat lady without the cats? are cats next? will i be found under a mound of cookbooks, holding a wooden spoon and mumbling "bouillabaisse? bouillabaisse?" i don't know. i only know that there's a comfort for me these days as i chop, season, marinate then cook. a kind of release that overtakes me and makes me feel everything might just be all right.
i don't have any recipes today. oh, i will, maybe even later, but for now this is just my return to the world of the blog and a sharing of what cooking has become for me -- a sense of self and self-preservation. who knew testing whether my oil is hot enough by watching oils float up from a submerged chopstick could calm me down enough to make me feel like i can face the day?