Where the Menu Comes From It’s amazing what different creations people can come up with given the same set of paints and brushes. Putting in a bit of your own artistic flair, the painting is then unique and a claim of your own right in this whole world. But everyone’s skill, knowledge, and experience varies, the art work may not always resonate and have an appreciating and lasting effect on people. Cooking, like painting, follows very much the same principle. And in reality it’s really hard to be genuinely original and creative, especially for something that is nonexistent and not yet has a place in this world. Perhaps that’s why we see a lot of imitations whenever and wherever there is a new trend in the market. And without slightest ideas or inspirations to spark and fuel your way, you stumble yourself dead in the tracks. I want to create my own artwork, stay true to my own philosophies, and not to traverse the beaten paths.
But I do get stuck. When I do, I go out to the woods to take long walks. I find myself strangely curious about the plants, insects, and sounds in the woods and they paint pictures in my head like connecting the dots to form a drawing in the children’s sketch book. I realized that if this is where I get inspired, I might as well bring this context to the dinner table. I always find that the woods have a calming effect and perhaps in this era of busy metropolitan life, a little bit of calming in the midst of chaos and rushing might do some wonders. If people cannot go to the woods, I shall bring the woods to them. The menu that follows then is a journey through the woods. Like the opening of a movie in some way, the camera focuses on a scene that is nostalgic and reminiscent of a cabin life set in the late summer where once the boiling cauldron in the hearth is the center of life and where the story unfolds itself...
A cauldron, misty, grassy and cold caught my attention The smell of the fennel hints crude garlic onion and fermented cream, the scent of much herbal likeness lingers Almost mossy, wild morels taken roots in the mind Conjuring up the image of back country—rustic scallop tart, Foraged quail shells, Grassy wooden bark, Pickled berries with sea, And nuttiness from the seeds complete the pantry of imaginations A flower garden just visible peeped through the cabin window frame, A pond with river rock, scented and foamy, On the side in the soil onions grow, and A vegetarian farm with beetroot and grazing cows Smells of the sea, of oyster and squid drifted far from the thundering, smoky sky, A quick glimpse to the south back, my muddy footprints in the rain, Asparagus spears sprout left and right, A winding path into the meadows I trek Maple leaves in the cloudy puddles, Hibachi of flames, and charcoals in the distance The smokes rose to catch up with the clouds, mingling and Indistinguishable from the ever bubbling cauldron of hot spring vapors
The temperatures have dropped low, quickly the autumn soon to come; daylight has been hours gone, and the laughter in the distance carried me off into the deep slumber of the night.