This is an attempt of mine, via descriptive story telling, to turn the process of creating lasagne from scratch, into a story that provokes reflection on different aspects of life. Hopefully, you enjoy it. Feel free to comment and help me out. Thank you;)
“Why don’t you just focus on making something for yourself to suit your own damn needs?”, my sister snapped.
Something for Myself. Just something for myself.
My emotions were crushed for that one moment. I had always believed that food was all about sharing and if I ever cooked, it would be to share the dish(es) with many people.
But in this family, it was difficult as everyone had different dietary preferences.
And I guess that was why I had stopped cooking. Stopped searching for recipes so that I could cook for the family. Stopped feeling inspired to create the glorious looking food that I saw on food blogs. Stopped challenging myself to come up with an innovative food dish. Because whatever that I had made: I couldn’t share it with anyone.
Why should I go through the trouble of cooking when I can’t share that dish of joy with others?
It is a monotonous and glum process to cook for yourself. Certain dishes–you cook them in large quantities but you don’t want to finish the entire product yourself! Like lasagne for example.
Making a well in the center of a heap of flour, you crack eggs into the middle. Mix them all up and gentle knead the mixture lovingly to form the pasta dough. Then, you roll the freshly made pasta dough into thin sheets. Cook the meat with aromatic spices and slowly, you layer the sheets of pasta with the rich, tangy gravy that you’ve just cooked up in a large pot. The tray of food then goes into the oven. And out of the oven, there is the finished lasagne, hand-made with care.
They say it smells good but when you ask them to taste it, they just walk away. They don’t want to get their hands into my business. My business with food.
But what about my other businesses? They dive straight into them.
So now, I sit in the kitchen alone with my tray of lasagne. What do i do? Have a little bit of it. Put the rest into the fridge. Reheat the leftovers and finish it up eventually.. over days.
Whatever I had created to share with others– I devoured it up by myself in the end. The heartwarming essence of food and fellowship just went into the bin right there.
I don’t get it. Why is it so difficult to get my family members to try a dish that is ecstasy to the tastebuds? Warm. Tasty. Free.
I don’t understand my lasagne just like how I don’t understand my life.
To simply subsist doesn’t cost one much. You can’t pay to buy time. Money doesn’t buy you time. But, the irony of life is that society has grown obsessed over the commodity of money, believing that money is in fact the only solution to happiness.
As I begin doing the dishes, watching the tiny crumbles of food get dragged down into the sink as they are swept by running water, I feel the itch on my head intensifying.
“Bloody itch”, I mutter under my breath and I scratch my itchy head walking to my bedroom.
Psoriasis is an evil skin condition, and I happen to bear the disease that was going to be the lifelong cause of my itchy head in the past, present and future to come.
The dry whiteness of skin that stretched itself tightly across my scalp that was struggling to breathe, only reminded me of stale minced meat.
Stale minced meat that was cooked on a hot dry pan, devoid of spices, devoid of moist fat–so dry and crumbly. Crumbly like my flaking scalp that fell over my shoulders after I had savagely scratched my itchy head.
I could hear my parents from my room. Was it my imagination or was it that whenever both of them were mad at one another and their voices rose, my head just got itchier?
The rising volume of voices hit me hard like the flavourful blast of hot and bubbling tomato sauce in the pot. Ripe red angry sauce. And the meat cooking in the tomato sauce reminded me of opinions that were struggling to be heard: struggling to rise above the sauce because they were consumed by the wrath of the hot red gravy–the hot red feeling of anger.
When I was younger, their bickering used to worry me much more. I didn’t understand why things had to be the way they were.
Why remain in a relationship that was bringing pain to themselves and also bringing hurt to the people around them? The quarrels between my parents hurt me too because I was standing right there in the same house. Though every one of us is an independent, we are interdependent creatures who are bound together by natural relationships. In this case, it was the bond of family that was pre-written before my birth. Their pain was my pain and my happiness was their happiness.
And I could say the same about my precious lasagne. The tomatoes, meat, dough, spices, salt and oil were independent entities but the interdependence and unity that the flavours and ingredients brought about, was crux in the creation of an exemplary main dish called Lasagne. How unselfish of a dish that is.
My unselfish Lasagne.
The Daily Cognitive