Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just breathe.

I just borrowed this cookbook from Matt and Becca called The Breath of a Wok.  As I paged through it, I noticed that the beginning was devoted to depicting the detailed history of this cooking vessel.  It's sort of amazing actually - quite mysterious.  Apparently, a wok is way more than just a pan with sloped edges and flat surface.   It's a sense, a flavor, a culture infused into food.  The wok is part of a  respected, emotional act of preparing a dish for another person to enjoy.  Reading about wok culture, I must admit, I'm really intrigued.  I own a wok (a very commercial wok, I've realized.  Now, I really want a hand hammered wok from the street markets of Taiwan), and I've never thought of it as anything other than a useful skillet.  Although I really appreciate the equal heat distribution and deep bottom, I don't think I've fully explored the versatility of the wok.  So, my goal this week (along with surviving parent-teacher conferences) is to cook a recipe from this book and to really "be" with my wok; I want to appreciate it's shape and it's "breath," even if it is breathing crappy Target-ified air.  I figure I'll be one step closer to knowing the secrets of a culture I am so deeply in love with.

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