Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Food Memory

A smell.

An ingredient.

A technique.

The execution.

Hunger gone.


Swollen heart.

When I cook food, my mind kind of goes into auto mode. I don't know how or why but it does. It's like my hands are on their own and I know the process of what I'm doing but I'm not even aware that I'm doing it. Chopping and prepping are my most favorite things to do, it relaxes me. I gave a cooking demo a while back and chopped cilantro in a chiffonade and got cilantro leaves on my hands. I took my knife and scraped the leaves off my hands and heard some gasps and one "What are you doing?" I was in auto mode and I have been scraping cilantro leaves off my hands that way for as long as I can remember. Foolish way to do that now that I think about it.

Auto mode happens when I make any kind of run of the mill kind of meal unless I'm making something very special. And special means ethnic. The food I grew up on is usually never an automated process. I have been given the awesome opportunity of time to really learn by trial and error how to make my memory food. I don't have a favorite, when I cook these foods a memory comes into my head. It was just tamale season and I caught myself crying over them...I'm not a kid anymore going to Gramma's to spread masa with a too big spoon. I've been wanting to make menudo but I'm the only one who likes it in my tiny house and I only know how to make the giant batch recipe that I would taste so good with this cold weather. Even just plain corn tortillas get me a little mother showed us how to take advantage of our long slender fingers to roll up a corn tortilla. There are foods I miss because of the memories tied with it and the foods I stay away from because I don't want to remember sopes. The first time I met my ex's parents, his mother made sopes so I never learned how to make them...greasy little buggers.

I'm kind of glad that I lost the written menudo recipe I jotted down from my Gramma. That's not how you learn, you have to watch and get your hands in it. You don't measure you, you just know. You go by the smell, the taste and the comfort you feel afterwards. I came to the realization that because I have learned to cook this heavy laden memory food, I'll have to teach it to someone else one day and keep the food cooking forever. Any takers?

1 comment:

  1. I have zero cooking intuition, with or without a recipe it's all a crapshoot for me...

    I'm glad you have cooking to relax with, everyone needs something. Personally it stresses me out. I'd rather go on a walk or read a book.

    But I am seriously dying to know how to 'properly' fry a freakin' tortilla--because maybe even I could eventually get this right.