LIFE – Two Ways!

(two ways is a cooking technique or presentation style where one ingredient is presented in two or more ways. In each presentation the ingredient is enhanced in its own way and the other ingredients and accompanying sauces are such that they compliment and highlight the main ingredient……this article is just inducing that technique in life…we are all ingredients….different, yet same)

She could smell the wet earth near the banks, the dried leaves and the caramel macchiato in her hand. She wanted a different coffee, the one she had had a few weeks before in the city but couldn’t remember the name. Well it didn’t matter, this was a nice coffee, it was a pleasant day and she had walked a good long distance to come to the riverfront. Choosing a cool shade she sat down and began to read the book. Myriad of aromas and smells wafted from the houses nearby, the whispering wind carried notes of her shampoo and the river reflected the lights from across, reminding her of a certain location in Mumbai called the queen’s necklace. In the middle of battles of three kings, a dragon queen that the book she read bespoke of, she couldn’t help notice the scenes- elderly people taking a walk, nannies trotting around with their baby strollers – all the babies being really cute, the locals out for an evening jog their dog or cat keeping pace with them… It was a serene and soothing environment, she loved it, it made her feel calm after a week full of family stress, job searches, some fights and bickering and a whole avalanche of emotional ups and downs; picking up her cellphone she sent a text. Her thoughts fluttered to her career, the question of whether she had chosen what she loved or not remained aside, what mattered the most right now was herself setting her professional path on the right track. The book lay forgotten in her lap as she thought of her little niece and how cute she had become, of her close friends, her plan with some people in the city next week, her past and future; she chanced a glance at her cell, there was no reply, she didn’t expect any at this time. She took a deep breath taking in the scene again; eventually she knew things would somehow fall in place… She gave a futile peek at her cellphone again, got up, dusted herself and directed her feet homeward while watching the clouds move slowly in the clear golden sky with the sun preparing itself for setting…

A deep breath, rolling of the tongue and a click at the back of the palate sufficed for him to know that the coffee was made right. It did matter a lot- it had to be a perfectly blended bruleed caramel cappuccino with whole milk, 15% foam, red eye, with sea salt on top. The entire day almost depended on that or at least his mood to begin with, so now that it was perfect he made his way through the rush hour goers and early bird tourists of the city. Aromas from the nearby breakfast selling halal carts and delis teased him, he could make out the freshly baked croissant from the Mexican deli, the stale bagels at the cart on the corner of 6th and Moore street, the overripe bananas from the lady at the light, the dark chocolate chip cookies from Sarabeth’s coffee shop all mingled with the weird sweetness of rotting garbage and garbage trucks, puffs of warm air from the gas emissions of hundreds of yellow cabs and perfumes of Prada, Gucci, Versace flaunters. The city was crowded as usual and he had no time. All through his subway ride he was trying to read the book he had started about certain kings and a dragon queen while dodging his thoughts about his family, financial ups and downs, certain friends And all the craziness going on in his life. Then he forcibly pushed those thoughts away and allowed the flood of work thoughts accumulate his brains… Things were distorted for now, stalled, hazy and crazy but he knew they would fall in place; he would make them fall in place. Finally dodging between awestruck tourists (who had this most irritating habit of staring dumbstruck at anything ranging from a subway station to a skyscraper, stop right in the middle of the sidewalk and take pictures) and commuters, baby stroller and dog walkers he made it to work. Right before he entered he sent a text and then dived into his world of flavors and aromas. It was super late when he finished, his first love, his sweetheart – a passion for food had left him exhausted. He stepped out of his work, refreshed himself with a deep breath of the cool, fresh air and glanced at his cell phone. There were two texts, which made his day. He smiled, dialed a number to call knowing it would be answered and turned his feet homeward while watching the stars twinkle brightly and the moon at the peak of its nightly route…

………..The stars twinkled, the moon glowed and the clouds rolled. The sun rose from its slumber from the eastern side of its light blue bed casting its bright stare upon the earth. The colors of the leaves changed from green to various hues of orange-red and the slightest brush of wind loosened few from the age old trees to dance and float freely with the breeze till they fell lightly on the ground below.

(Salmon cooked four ways in Bocuse d’Or 11)         (Lamb cooked four ways in Bocuse d’Or 11)

(both photos are from the Bocuse D’Or 2011 competition, both the dishes presented by Chef James Kent and Tom Allan and were selected to represent USA in France finals in Lyon. Honored to say I was their CIA Commis in the USA finals….)

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