Mon, 26/Jun/2017 2:38

Learning from food

I was talking with a couple coworkers about food the other day. One was asking me about different foods I like to cook and eat. I mentioned that I like quinoa and foods from India such as curries, tandoori style and na'an (a type of flat bread). We both reminisced about various Indian restaurants in which we had eaten. We were then overheard by another coworker who is from India. He interjected about Indian cuisine and we talked for some time. He then stated that he could make us some food if we wanted. Of course we did. So I invited him to my place to do the cooking and we all agreed upon a time.

He came over and showed me how to cook. I first put diced onion and serrano peppers into the hot pan. He corrected me and I pulled them back out. We then waited to heat up a little bit of oil and then added whole cumin seed. As the seeds were heating he told me that this is the most important step in the cooking. We had to wait until the seeds were just beginning to brown and they would pop a little bit. I wondered why this would be and thought he was simply following traditional methods. When that was ready we then added a couple bay leaves, garlic powder and a little bit of ginger powder. After heating those for a little bit we then added a bit of tumeric, garamsala and curry powders. We next added the diced onion and pepper. The smell was amazing! We added various other ingredients and to be honest I don't quite recall, all I remember was the intense wonderful smell. It was so strong that I opened the windows and doors. As the others started to arrive they each mentioned that the smell outside was strong very.

I had cooked curries before with essentially the same ingredients but mine had not been so strong in smell and flavor. What did he do that was different than what I did? Then it hit me. The heating up the spices in the oil first had released essential oils from the seeds and spices into the oil. This then impregnated the food and air.

So, I learned that by heating something up, to a point that I thought it would be destroyed and ruined, it turned very flavorful. As a side note, you might be interested in the same process for the spice called "asafoetida".

This can also be called "the refiners fire" among other names. We learn by failing and if we are denied the chance to fail and take responsibility for that failure we will never learn and succeed. The light bulb clicks on.

When our previous president, congress and the Federal Reserve said that some companies were "too big to fail" I about choked on the water in my mouth. I felt like I had been water boarded into an alternate reality. Nothing is too big to fail. We rise, like the Phoenix, from the ashes of failure into success. This is also what Charles Darwin saw when he went to the Galapagos Islands. When an animal has a trait that does not allow it to function fully, the animal will not be able to successfully survive and breed. Thus preventing the unsuccessful trait from being passed on. However, traits that give animals a competitive advantage do get passed on. If we step in and force a certain animal to breed and others to not breed we mess up the process of natural selection resulting in poor performing companies and a weak economy.

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