Egalitarian Palace of the Peach
Oh, let us
step boldly, combining the domestic sweetness of the peach with the
exotic whiff of curry powder. Some days are meant for treading lightly
and some are meant for shaking the earth. Let us shake, shake, shake
as we so often do, with the simple onion. In ways, he is our narrator,
faithful and omniscient. He will help us weave the tale of our journey,
sizzling and crackling in a cast-iron skillet with olive oil and some
pressed garlic. Listen . . . he is telling you a story.
been here before. It is the onion telling us, “Once upon a time in a far
continue to talk while we attend to the problem of a raw chicken breast.
You may bake it or you may brown it. But, here, we shall poach it.
Poaching, of course, is a fancy way to say that you will cook your
chicken breast in boiling water like it was a common egg. Put it out of
your mind for the time being. Most days, you wouldn’t dream of
mistreating your meat. Today is a different kind of day.
peaches in their packing juices.
It is time
to address the question of spices, most notably this curry with which
you have been teased. You look at your peaches. They will be sweet, and
if you’ve arrived at the conclusion that you will want sour to follow
that on, you have made an error.
sweetness of a peach instead segues well into a hot, not a sour. Sour
irritates the peach, which prefers to go about its business
good-naturedly. It can handle hot. Hot excites it, makes it feel alive.
Not so with sour, which is too negative a sensation.
understanding will help guide you to your spice mixture. You will want
two parts curry, one part cumin and one part ground red pepper. That is,
you’ll want that spice mixture if your curry is hot. If it is mild, and
you want to experience the peak-to-peak journey that is sweet and hot,
you’ll want to consider perhaps a little extra dusting of ground red
mixture on your onions, and stir it in. Clumps will appear and perhaps a
feeling of panic will set in. You have erred, fatally, and your next
meal will come courtesy Mr. Pizza Deliveryman and his soggy, flaccid
friend, calm. ‘Tis the time to add your peaches … and the peach juice.
Stir it together, and it will take on that familiar yellowish hue that
tells the casual observer that curry powder has been deployed. The
clumps will disappear, and in their place will appear a thick, bubbling
liquid. Somewhere, Mr. Pizza Deliveryman will say, “Drats, foiled
flavors blend together, your chicken breast should be done poaching. Cut
it this way and that, always creating smaller and smaller pieces. We are
raised to believe that wherever meat appears, it rules with an iron
fist. Here, we have the makings of a true egalitarian society. Your
chicken breast is there largely to soak in the flavors of sweet and hot
and to transport them to your mouth.
might think to yourself that perhaps this is the time to depart the meat
train altogether and to instead substitute tofu. Many people are
frightened by tofu, because they are not capable of wrapping their minds
around it. They dismiss it with scorn. Yet, in this case, if you cut
your tofu into small enough chunks, there would be little appreciable
difference in the final result if you were to substitute it for actual
may have difficulties wrapping your mind around this. If this is the
case, there is nothing wrong with you. It’s just that you are not ready
to yet comprehend the meaning of tofu. Perhaps another day, when you are
Mix it all
together. Perhaps, now, you’re wondering – am I done? Do you eat it, as
is? You go to do just this, but there is something nagging in the back
of your mind. There is a certain wet thickness to this that cries out
for something over which it can be poured. Your mind strays to your
refrigerator, and your leftover rice (barring that, the bag of brown
rice in your pantry). And, you realize that the answer to your question
was answered long before you thought to ask it.
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