Mystery of a Prepared Meal

Lay a prepared dish before me and you will have given me on of life’s greatest joys–a happy stomach. I try not to judge a book by its cover and like to give the cook the benefit of the doubt before I take the first bite. Once my taste buds give the green light for the Payazaro seal of approval, I try not to think about how it was made, what ingredients were used, or any other detail of the preparation process. There is something special about keeping all of that a mystery. For a moment in time, I just like to focus on how delicious, tasty, and enjoyable the food is and how happy it makes me feel. It is stripping down and eliminating all other prejudgments of what ingredient was missing or could have been used, whether or not it will make me chunky, if the ingredients were organic or even if the cook washed his/her hands. To me, it is like a snapshot of a moment of being in love, not really focusing on all the reasons or causation for being in love, but just relishing in the complete sensation of satisfaction.

Sometimes, the less I know the better it tastes, especially if made of dog or pork (I’m not a fan of either, not that I know what dog tastes like…I’ll keep telling myself that). That moment of mystery does not last long. Soon enough my senses will put the pieces together and inform me that I too can make the food that I just put in my mouth. Unfortunately, this process of mystery cannot be replicated if I prepared the meal myself. I’ll appreciate the flavor and enjoy the meal made by my own two hands, but there is no mystery, there is only anticipation. I prefer the risk that comes with the mystery…

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2 thoughts on “Mystery of a Prepared Meal”

  1. Darn,I have to stop reading…… you are pulling out way too many memories of my Peace Cor[ps time – talk about food!!!!!!! there is no way they can train you to really be ready to hit the local custom and taste in food and all related: how to pour a beer, which hand to use and how, eating the “mote”,learning that the “butter” that came with the corn is not butter, chuño, nothing can prepare you for the first time the gente (especially indigina) grace your presence with the best they have to offer and you get a roasted guinea pig looking at you with funny teeth and clenched claws… or the caldo de cabeza where you hope not to be THE guest of honor and get the eyeball….. and so it goes.I too always requested to not know what it was until I ate it and decided on taste, texture etc then after deciding I like it or not, go ahead and tell me what I just ate. Never was fond of eating anything that looks back at me, or was part of some creatures innards ( heart is an exception as it is prepared in a national dish of Peru and is very very good: antecucho) anyway once more you jogged memory. The same happened with me in Mexico during my Peace Corps training in a small gathering of homes near Atlacomulco which then was a stop on the road and now a huge city. anyway I digress, I think I will stop reading now to stop dredging up similar experiences — yes, all of which teach a great deal and lead to a lot of learning and understanding.

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