Oh, Heaven, this must be it! A place on earth to come and be alone, with only methodology and a pinch of madness; perhaps one of salt as well, if the dish so requires it.
Yes! This art, the process of making something utterly unique, utilitarian and natural, there is such beauty in cooking. As I begin my work, as diligent as any master painter, preparing tools, sharpening, flowering, preheating, laying out what is yet to come.
I slice away my time, minute by careful minute, preparing every facet of this dish and suddenly garlic hits oil and like paint to the canvas, my room comes alive! As if an Italian night has been awakened, my every sensation pops, as the oil jumps from the pan; oh the aroma! But oh the sting of burning oil.
Next, to add the onion, a prize worth weeping over, a flavor as old as cooking itself and I know all that pain is in the pursuit of beauty. To caramelise onion is to do it great justice, that sweetness just bursts on the tough bringing any dish a new life and depth, so this is what I shall do.
Next to Water, oh what a bland flavorless thing, and yet if given attention, the right number of herbs and stewing time, a broth! For something oh so basic it takes the patience I so long to give it, oh broth do take these hours from me and this flavor from these bones, add the base to my creation, the stepping stones towards finality.
On and on each ingredient must be added. Only at the right time and at the perfect amount and slowly each becomes part of something bigger, another layer, another flavor.
Only once my kitchen has steamed, windows foggy and oven sitting idle is the work complete.
Before me, I have something new and whole, full of flavor and creativity.
Yes, Ramen is a student dish, yet after hours of toil, hand made noodles and paper-thin vegetables I have made something you cannot buy in a plastic cup.
But now my bowl is empty, my work is complete, I created a little taste of heaven in my kitchen today and I know I shall do it again, but for now, I leave my sanctuary my canvas filled with colours and I return to an imperfect world.