Last week, B. and I went on a shopping spree. As usual, we merely browsed clothing stores and spent our money on food – most of it at an ethnic shop selling all kinds of Asian products and produce. Unfortunately neither of us had thought to bring a backpack so we had to lug a heavy plastic bag everywhere after that. (And by ‘we’, I mean B., since he does the lugging when we go shopping. Because I’m so delicate and he’s so manly, you know.)
I was excited about a lot of things I bought – udon noodles and baking soda and corn starch and curry pastes – but I was most excited about the little plastic tubs of spices I’d grabbed. I eat a lot of Thai and Indian food, and this meant I would finally be able to make my curries from scratch. I firmly believe in cooking from scratch – it tastes better, it’s more fun, and I like knowing what goes into my food. So with the garam masala I’d bought, I was finally ready to make this. (It’s been staring at me from my feed reader for so long, just begging to be made. Recipes so often are – there just aren’t enough meals in the day or time to prepare them in to satisfy all my recipe cravings!)
And I wasn’t disappointed. It reminded me of my bagel baking, in the sense that I mixed everything together per instructions and then tasted it, and holy hockey sticks, it tasted just like it was supposed to! (It still amazes me how you can throw a lot of stuff together – even stuff you’ve never cooked with before – and get something really delicious out of it.) It was obviously my first time cooking this recipe, and I need to tweak it a bit to fit my personal preferences, but I was really happy with the results.
I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of (chai) tea, that there are enough people that would think, if it tastes just like store-bought, why not just buy it in the store and save yourself some time. But cooking is my way of entering into the creative process, of letting go of everyday things and focusing on something bigger than me. I like the way cooking is based on rules but employs a lot of freedom as well. It fits me. Plus, unlike other art forms, if you don’t like the results, you eat it and it’s gone. Presto, instant extermination!
And talking about rules and freedom, I’m making these on Friday as a special surprise for B. (So B., if you’re reading this before Saturday, only click on that link if you want to ruin your surprise!) They’re pretty much the ultimate exercise in strait-laced freedom. I’ll let you know how they turn out..