Friday, February 22, 2008

fruit memories/newness

I made some fig jam today at work for one of the two parties we had. Took black mission figs, cooked them down with some sweet muscat wine and a little water. I took some time to appreciate the sugar sheen on the figs as I diced them, stopped several times to stir, add, adjust, left some space for patience. Pureed the whole thing. It was very good. It went with fried graviera cheese.

Today I also learned how to cook the octopus, from someone who I am strangely starting to bond with. When the dish was put together, he handed me a piece of tentacle. I stared it down, remembering the rubbery feeling in my hand. I tasted it. I let go. It was good, better with sauce and with the side salad. Do You Wanna Show Me? I asked him. Do You Wanna Learn? he replied. There was a time when I wouldn't have said yes.

I worked garde manger tonight so I stayed out of the pastry kitchen, mostly, except to try a spoonful of some fresh-spun ice cream that my new boss held out to me. When I tried to taste it, still so soft and precious, it slid down my throat instead in the manner of an ice cream shot. Some slight hint of flavor lingered in my throat, but it went too fast to make a full impression. Come Back When You Learn To Eat, she said. Visitors to our kitchen soon learn that we tease mercilessly though it is, like a schoolboy's crush, always affectionate at heart. So I went back to the savory kitchen but there it was, an impression, a tease, a hint of an answer to a question.

Yesterday I tasted something good lord so delicious. I was in the pk while it was being born and I got to watch it come to life, got to dip fingers in process, asked the whys. It was incredible. I'm so excited for it.

Change is constant. What do you believe, what do you believe in? Do you fight or do you let go? Me, I'm trying to hold to the things I resolved at week's beginning.

I loved that fig jam. I made it with love. I made it meditating on the first perfect fig I ever ate, in a small Palestinian town, which led me to the figs from Knoll, and the fruit-stealing adventure in Berkeley with some perfect figs devoured on spot, and faint memories of Jerusalem, desert sunrises, certain women, Sonsie figs, my bad habits, my good intentions. Food is love. Food is a springboard. Food is a lot of things, but only with human intervention.


Aaron said...

You'll know you've been in California long enough when you truly believe that food can exist on a sublime plane withOUT the intervention of the human.

Busy all the time. said...

I hope this post made you happy for me, a little.

Food, yes sublime. But without our growing and handling of it, our yapping and yammering, our manipulations and may be sublime but those things open it up. or close it down. context, you know.

Anonymous said...

you have a new boss? you sound so nonchalant about it. well I guess because you write in a vague way that's ok but it seems like this would affect you, no?

Busy all the time. said...


(and there's vagueness yourself, eh?)

no, I am not nonchalant about circumstances, but neither am I going to talk in detail about them here.

samin said...

figs in february?

Busy all the time. said...

i used dried figs. i guess i left that part out...oops!

Monkey Wrangler said...

Whew! Thanks for clearing up that fig thing. Now, tag!