Archive for August, 2011

Cook On!
12 August, 2011

I had a friend at university named Jean. Well, that was the name she adopted (like many Asians students) to free the gwailo from trying to pronounce her given name. When I asked her what her real given name meant, she said it did not translate well but perhaps could be said to be “happy home smell”. Whilst I speak neither Cantonese, Mandarin, nor any other dialect, I definitely grok the concept.

I have always loved art. After years of trying I finally learned that I have no talent in the performing arts, just the compositional arts. Even though I refused to use my fingers to paint (why else did FSM give us brushes, eh?) I loved art in school from my earliest memories. When my eldest took art in school last year, my spouse commented that I was more excited than any of the kids. (They have a kiln!) The only thing that could get me to even consider leaving the house in the evenings after working a full day was an adult-ed class in making raku.

Certainly due somewhat to nurture, but also I think in no small degree due to nature, I have a fondness for caretakers. Not in the sense of the creepy guy who looks after the Hall of Oddities, but in the sense of those who take care of others. That gentle, protective, affectionate energy really resonates with me. I appreciate those-formerly-known-as-secretaries in part for the role they serve as caretakers.

So I suppose it should be no surprise that I cherish cooks. They combine compositional art with caretaking. For me, “happy home smell” is the smell of home-cooking.