The First Cut Is The Deepest
Since starting to receive my updates, I think you've learned a bit more about me than you knew before or perhaps even more than you ever wanted to know. I'll leave that up to you.
For example, I can draw a strange and obscure abstract critter like the Hare I included in this weeks update.
Also, some of you might also know that I'm a decent cook. At least I think I am. I like all the parts of the cooking process. I love the prep, the assemblage, the spices, the seasoning, and the application of heat.
The only part of cooking I sometimes don't enjoy are the comments from the peanut gallery. I can hear her ladyship now,
Regardless, I like it all. I even love the peanut gallery.
My favorite part of the process is the prep. I love slicing and dicing and prepping the food. I ended up with the job by default cause Andrea keeps mentioning she'd much rather instead stick needles in her eyes than chop vegetables.
I like it because there's something methodical and meditative about it - at least the way I do it. Let's call it, "Mindful Chopping."
When I was a young Marine I was put on Mess Duty (KP in the Army) for a couple of months as a sort of punishment. I was put in a room chopping vegetables for eight hours at a time. I pealed tons of potatoes. I chopped onions until my eyes were raw. I sliced carrots for hours at a time. I ended up loving it. I was a bit disappointed when my time was up.
Today, I get up every morning and cut up kiwis, strawberries, oranges, mangos, and flat peaches. I add raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I love my fruit in the morning. For me, it's made even more special by the prep.
I'm not like one of those TV chefs whose knives fly around like whirling dervishes at lightning speed. Their knives appear to have a mind of their own. It even looks like the knives are in control and the chef is just holding on waiting for the flurry to end. I watch those programs in complete awe. If I tried to move that fast, I'd leave bits of myself on the cutting room floor - and nobody wants bits of Scott in their sushi, especially Scott.
Aside from the meditation, what I like about doing the prework is using a very sharp knife. I've been told when you use a dull knife, you're more likely to fillet your finger instead of the fish.
I've acquired what can be described as a slight obsession with sharp knives. I love sharp knives, of course, but I also love the process of honing the steel to a razor-sharp edge. I find the feel and sound of slowly drawing the steel against the whetstone extremely pleasing. I get a shiver up my spine just thinking about it.
You also might know that I'm a bit of a bull in a China shop. When I do walk into a China shop, it's like the honky-tonk where the piano stops, it becomes very, very quiet, everybody in the joint slowly turns, and looks at the door.
I've been called Shrek more than once. It's also been said that I should carry a medic-alert tag warning others of my clumsiness.
My story begins one sunny day when I grew tired of the old knives in the house. Some of the knives were only sharpish because the rust had pitted the blades at strategic positions. Time to buy a new knife.
We headed up to the Hitchin Kitchen Shop. I'm sad because that particular shop no longer exists. Harumph.
I walked in and stared meaningfully at the knives for a long time. I was studying each of the options behind the counter thoroughly before I chose my blade.
I could see a slight look of panic in Andrea's eyes. She said, "Pay attention and be very careful now."
I said, "I know. I know. I will. I will. Don't worry. Don't worry. No, really, don't worry. I am not a freaking child"
I asked the shop assistant if I could please take a look at that shiny, sleek, curvy thing in the glass case behind her. She carefully pulled it down from behind the glass and handed it to me.
I could see beads of sweat forming on Andrea's forehead as the knife came across the counter.
I put my glasses on to look at it more carefully.
Slight inhale from Andrea's direction.
I ran my finger down the side of the blade.
Andrea bit her lip.
I ran my finger down the blade again.
I felt a shudder from the peanut gallery.
I turned around and said, "Yup, I think this is the one."
Just then, I could see the little rivulet of blood approaching my sleeve.
Andrea planted that, "I told you so!" look firmly on her face as the shop assistant rushed back to get a bandage.
There were some choice words hurled in my direction. I think it was something about my being an idiot. I'm sure the words, "You irritating man!" were used somewhere in her soliloquy as well.
After leaving my DNA on the knife, I couldn't very well let the knife be bought by someone else, could I? I had to have it.
"That will be 56 pounds, twenty pence."
Another sharp intake.
The transaction was done. Knife safely in the box and the box safely in the bag. There was no imminent chance of destruction, at least for the time being.
Since that day, I have taken outstanding care of my blade. It lives in its special box in a special drawer. It's as sharp today as it ever was, and I look forward to visiting the sharpening stone regularly. It gives me that peaceful, easy feeling.
Sure, if you combine my fondness for very sharp knives and the fact I don't tread lightly on this earth, you might question the wisdom of my slight obsession with very sharp things, but I love a finely crafted and perfectly honed tool.
I do pay very close attention when handling the knife, and it pays very close attention to me. I happy to report no body parts have been deposited on the chopping block, and for that, I am truly grateful.
Apparently, I AM a bit of a child. Sigh.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Trail - 214 DAYS
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