Edible Nonfiction: Today's pick
By Tiffany Morris
I've known people who can cook. My roommate would whip up the best soups I've ever eaten, going from sink to chopping board to stove with hummingbird intensity. One soup was made using only cilantro, egg noodles and a dictionary's worth of brightly-colored spices. When I finished the bowl they sat on the rim like abbreviated sentences. I admired them in awe.
I didn't understand how these acts of creation were possible. Among my friends, there were fundraising banana breads, Thanksgiving boiled dinners and prized bowls of chili scrawled onto recipe cards and exchanged like secret handshakes. I would feign interest, embarrassed by my cupboard full of boxes that promised quick and easy solutions. My friends were passing the test of adulthood with ribbons in hand, while I got a photocopied certificate of participation.
My ex-boyfriend never forgave my dried chicken cuts, seasoned incorrectly on our fat-draining grill. We both knew I couldn't rival his mother's Philippino food. Once prodded with a fork, her golden-crusted empanadas revealed entire hidden worlds of vegetable. He looked with dismay at our panini press and the thin frost of dust that gathered on its metal lid. Both frustrated, we would get takeout Japanese barbecue. Every bite of that teriyaki steak, perfectly seared, tasted of failure. And deliciousness. If the conversation was terse, the savoury meat would be partly to blame.
He eventually fell for a vegan, and I fell in love with a more forgiving foodie, whose love of cooking took me by the hand and back into the kitchen. Now, my experiments with photogenic internet recipes are met with patience and encouragement. From stuffed peppers to cookie-stuffed brownies, I am free to navigate this laboratory, table spoons and paring knives in hand. With composure and love, I decipher the hieroglyphics of the delectable.
Tiffany Morris is from Halifax, NS