Quarantine Cooking 101
“If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and in eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of food in that way, we become grateful, and when you are grateful, you are happy.” Thich Nhat Hahn
I can no longer measure my days in the narrative of good or bad. In the infinite game, I can only say I am ahead or behind in this moment. No, I am not a Zen master with endless wisdom. I am a spiritual person having a human experience. A Kafkaesque experience, for this moment. The rules of the game have changed.
Who changed the rules? Why are we listening? How do we know this is the best action to take when no other action is being offered? Why are the “experts” not providing information? The infection of the body politic, dominated by fear and anger, the lack of self-confidence, the fear of the other and the insecurity of the viral infection will certainly be less damaging than the ensuing economic collapse.
I cannot stay in this state of mind.
So, what do I do?
Quarantine Cooking 101
The kitchen is small. I have a single induction burner and a toaster oven. As many of you may have experienced, supplies are sporadic and inconsistent. I like the challenge.
I go out into the world almost daily to buy limited amounts of fresh ingredients. I walk a couple of kilometres to the store and back.
I have started taking pictures of nature along the way. I’m failing to catch the beauty that I see. I keep trying. I am seeing nature pushing back against our imposing wills. Plants are growing through barb wire. Trees are pushing through the cement, stretching for the sky. And so many butterflies! I find butterflies flying around my head every walk.
The food prepared is different every day. It may not be beautiful sometimes, but the flavours are immense and the textures balance. With so few ingredients available we have dined on Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean, Eastern European, Italian, Arabic and things in between.
I have a basic set of staples that are repeated often. They were purchased from Classic Fine Foods or Gourmandine and delivered to my apartment.
The future is uncertain. I suppose it always has been. Now is all we have. I am spending this rollercoaster of a time with my wife laughing, joking, crying, plotting to take over the world. And of course – cooking!
If you liked this article on Quarantine Cooking 101, find more pieces written by Nathaniel Jay here. Check out which restaurants are delivering in KL during the MCO here, have your ponderings answered about food safety during the coronavirus pandemic here, and stay up-to-date with the latest happenings on Kuala Lumpur’s food and beverage scene here.