This is two-thirds of a post, half a post at worst. What few readers I have have hopefully noticed my absence lately. I suppose there are things I could be writing about: the mounds of new music I’ve been listening to (way to learn to actually write songs, Red Sparowes! Next, work on your titles!), my qualms with the lovingly reviewed God of War 3, that long-overdue post on the wonder that is Amon Tobin, on overcoming various hurdles in regard to the photo project I’m very slowly working on, on missing winter, on the English course I’m taking, on a thousand other things, but I just haven’t felt the urge.
That said, here I go. A post sneaked up on me while I wasn’t paying attention.
I just made my first attempt at replicating a recipe of my mother’s. It was one of my adolescent favourites: a tasty, savoury chicken chili, apparently made “Asian” by the inclusion of ginger and cilantro. In the years since her death, the recipe was lost; probably in some ill-considered, semi-frustrated purge of boxes of belongings. I’ve been working on my various kitchen skills lately, and have thankfully, belatedly graduated from a diet far too heavily supplemented with restaurant food and KD to preparing my own usually delicious food. So, for one of my first experiments where I actually have some skin in the game, I decided to try my hand at guessing how she had concocted this tasty stew.
I hit surprisingly close to the mark on my first try. Slightly too heavy on the cumin, nowhere near enough ginger, spicier than she ever cooked it, but that was on purpose. I was pretty damn close. The strange thing is that while it was definitely delicious enough, it was the smell that really evoked a freshly-cracked thermos in the caf, or that warm anticipation of a home-cooked meal. And with that, my demi-degree from the Psychology department at U of T comes in handy yet again.
One of the few fragments of psych knowledge I’ve hung onto in the years since I gave up on the (soft) sciences is that smell and emotional memory are situated very close to each other in the brain, and thus (the understanding is that) they’re closely related. That moist, springtime rain smell still evokes memories of an otherwise nearly-forgotten trip to Germany when I was eight. That a faintly chemical waft of patent leather coupled with damp wood reminds me of my father’s basement office more vividly than any photograph could.
I feel like I should conclude with something, but I may have opened with something about this only being two-thirds of a post. Maybe later!