I cooked lentils tonight.
*angelic music plays*
And just like that, the curse of the chef’s block (and by block I don’t mean cheese) has been lifted from my shoulders.
*angelic music heightens then drops off slowly*
It wasn’t even that hard. I just diced some onions, garlic and carrots; sorted and rinsed the lentils; sauteed the aforementioned onions, garlic and carrots; poured 4 cups of water in the pot of lentils; dropped in the rest of the ingredients, and voila!
When I tried it a half hour later, it was a tasteless mass that burned my tongue. An expected failure, I told myself. Serves you right for taking forever to pick up the ladle again.
But I wasn’t really mad. That’s because aside from a productive day, I already had a plan: dress it up with herbs and spices and voila once more … no need for cooking skills!
So, there I was, standing over the pot in my kitchen, juggling glass containers of bay leaves, parsley flakes and red pepper (the latter was thanks to my dad who I remembered added chilis to make his lentil soup spicy three years ago when we lived together in the summer…holy crap, has it really been three years already since then. …) and planning a Broadway show outing with my roommate at the same time.
Another half hour later (or maybe 15 minutes — I don’t remember, time is always on my side, but I never look in its direction), and the lentil soup was ready. My roomie had retreated to her room, and the kitchen was warm and quiet. *angelic music starts* Carefully, I scooped up a little with the edge of my spoon and raised it to my mouth. *music heightens* It still burned my tongue *falters*, but now it tasted like molasses in January *heightens*, a plot full of daisies *heightens*, a mouthful of olives *stops*.
So, it was all right. Not the best, but flavorful enough, actually. But it wasn’t the flavor of home. Well, just wait till December, I thought to myself. Mom will make you everything you want for two whole weeks … that’s 42 whole meals. Wow.
Although I’m sure her lentils will taste nothing like mine, yes, it is a fact that I’m looking forward to them — despite them being one of my least favorite meals of youth. But unlike in the ’90s (the decade of my tender years), Mom now cooks like Grandma. And when I taste my own food, sometimes I taste a lot of what she made back then — a memory overpowered by the savory tastes and smells emanating from the hearth of grandma’s kitchen.