The feeling I get as my dinner concept skitters off course, is something not unlike attempting to get across a room with a floor filled with ball bearings. What happens, after I get out celery, chicken and mushrooms with the presumption that I am going to produce something like a Chinese (or Asian in general) meal, is that I just lose my direction, I carom dangerously around the kitchen, cleaver in hand, as the goal of the meal that I once had clearly in mind abandons me. I cannot imagine why I bought mustard greens to add to this mess, squash, these stinking mushrooms (they’re fine when they’re cooked but raw they have a smell that is vaguely nauseating), celery, scallions, green pepper and bok choy. Oh, and that damn hot pepper.
I blearily drag out all my various sauces that relate in some way to the Pacific rim—although not that horrific fish sauce—Thai red curry paste, gochujang, several soy sauces, mirin, rice wine vinegar, whatever the hell looked appropriate lurch to the pan, and in a haze of confusion slop this and that, whatever into whatever.
That feeling of disorientation, the bewildering sense of loss of purpose dissipates when I sit down to eat. Because, no matter. It always tastes the same. I have arrived at the same place I always do. Except for the mustard greens which tasted like, well, nothing. It was fine I ate it (for days), I’ll eat anything. Except anchovies and I’m gonna work on that. And maybe once I conquer that I’ll work on the fish sauce.