"You never do art when your angry kids, just like with cooking. Never cook when your angry, right Emily?" Dan was a sixty year old man-child with a deep creased brow. His face was stretched from the invisible pull of gravity, whose beckoning had won over his eyelids and refashioned his cheeks into jowls. He wore the garb of a high school skateboarder, and he liked to banter with the kids as though he were one of them. His posture was wavy and loose. He carried hunched shoulders when approaching a group of teenage boys, as if to say "I am not a threat". Atop his large ears and nose rested a pair of 1960's style round sunglasses, like John Lennon used to wear. These sunglasses seemed to protect him from harsh glares cast by eyes rolling and hormonally driven attitude problems. Behind those glasses, everything was rosy for Dan, he had created his own world and he was a star.
He was not really asking me a question. He never pauses for long enough to invite an answer. He often skips over pauses in his speech entirely, drawing out his words to ward off possible interruption. He continues, "of course you never cook angry, because what is in your heart goes into the food. What is innnn yooooouuuur heaaaaarrrt goes innn-tooo the food..." he went on.
Nobody could get past his wall of glasses and words, the building of which took longer than the growing of his ponytail. I tried to look interested in his lecture, not for him so much as for the kids. I felt a sense of responsibility to them, to behave in such a way as to encourage them to behave properly. I was passing down unquestioned formalities, too afraid to question them at this stage in the game. There is a secret one learns when they find themselves standing in front of a lecture hall, or as in the case of my museum trip, when counseling at a summer camp. There are many truths, many paths, many ways. Our leaders are children, there paths go only as far as they have been led.
"You never cook when you are angry" These words resonate. My spoon hits the metal bowl with a clang. Today, I was cooking angry. I saw that the path Dan had cleared drops off into a cliff. I found his words to be false. To cook angry was pure heaven.
Oil spattered hungry for the raw green edges of zucchini. The smooth white insides turned yellow, melting in the steamy scream of oil. My hands were filled with passion as I crushed garlic under the smooth back of my knife. The passion of my anger dissolved into love and I saw they were one and the same. By the time the salad was finished I was laughing.
Try making this salad with any emotion:
Boil 2 cups water, 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Add 1 1/2 cups couscous, remove from heat, stir, cover and let sit for 7 min.
In a frying pan, cover the bottom with olive oil. Add 5 small diced zucchini and some salt. Add 4 cloves FRESH garlic (from the farmers market if possible, alive and spicy). When Zucchini has had enough, remove from heat and add 1/2 diced red onion. Add 1 cup re-hydrated sun dried tomatoes. Mix in couscous. Allow to cool a bit, add 1 Tbsp oil, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 1/2 Tbsp Salad vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 cup diced basil. Season with salt and pepper.
Christina's vote: "Love in every mouthful"