November 16, 2010

Sanctuary

The entryway is the hiss of gas and the whump! of the flame.  Next is the metal on metal clang and a high-pitched shhhhh of a pat of butter foaming up.  The knife makes the wooden cutting board resound with a thunk, and the cuts it makes crackle through the crisp flesh of an onion.  The orchestra is rounded out with a bubbling pot of water, percolating and agitating air from the heated bottom of the pan so that it rises and bursts at the surface.

The sounds give way to smells that permeate the air: garlic, onion, tomatoes in a percussive dance of flavor.  The swirl of evaporating, starchy pasta water smells like comfort.

When the pasta drains, there's a cloud that rises from the sink, vaporized spaghetti particles floating on salted air.

The act is one of mindless submission to technique and action: chopping, stirring, tending--none of it requires human development or a knowledge of anatomy if I choose not to use it.  In the space between the counter and the stove, I can create a measure of comfort and sustenance that is fulfilling and nourishing.  The food itself is filling--but the act of creation, more so.

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