Friday, January 21, 2011

A Blurb and a List

Here's an excerpt from "Cutting for Stone," a book I'm reading by Abraham Verghese:

By midmorning, when we return from our first Bungalow-to-Casualty-to-Women's Ward-to-Front Gate excursion, with Koochooloo as our bodyguard, the kitchen is alive. Steam rises in plumes as Almaz clangs lids on and off the pots. The silver weight on the pressure cooker jiggles and whistles. Almaz's sure hands chop onions, tomatoes, and fresh coriander, making hillocks that dwarf the tiny mounds of ginger and garlic. She keeps a palette of spices nearby: curry leaves, turmeric, dry coriander, cloves, cinnamon, mustard seed, chili powder, all in tiny stainless-steel bowls within a large mother platter. A mad alchemist, she throws a pinch of this, a fistful of that, then wets her fingers and flings that moisture into the mortar. She pounds with the pestle, the wet, crunchy thunk, thunk soon changes to the sound of stone on stone.

Mustard seeds explode in the hot oil. She holds a lid over the pan to fend off the missiles. Rat-a-tat! like hail on a tin roof. She adds the cumin seeds, which sizzle, darken, and crackle. A dry, fragrant smoke chases out the mustard scent. Only then are the onions added, handfuls of them, and now the sound is that of life being spawned in a primordial fire.

This is probably one of the most well-written passages I've read in a long time. I feel like I'm right there in the kitchen, smelling the smells, and worrying about being splattered by hot oil. I had to re-read it several times last night, just to absorb the whole experience. It was a similar experience to the part in Ratatouille when Remy & Linguine are cruising around the kitchen, really in the groove. Except this is a book, not a movie—it's rare for a book to evoke that kind of response for me. Amazing.


I just read this post by Shaun Groves about an exercise they did while learning about adopting. Challenging, convicting, inspiring.

Here's what my list looks like:
Cultural Information

I'm not sure I can get to the second round of cuts. If I don't have a place to call home, or if I'm not able to create, I kind of become a crazy person. If pressed, though, I guess I'd cross off "creating" and "home" next. And if I'm honest, part of me wants to cross off "values" (which represents my faith on this list) before "home."

What things are left on your list? Could you get down to four?


No comments:

Post a Comment