After spending weeks studying European cuisine, we moved onto the heat of green and red curry and the cool taste of coconut milk. We toasted masala blends and wrapped our hands around bamboo mats to curl rice, vegetables, and fish around shiny green nori tiles. Our study of Asian food was broad and brief, but hours were crammed into minutes with the intensity of our study.
Cooking quickly pivoted to plating where we learned how to invite vision into food’s sensory experience. The exercise brought forward my mother’s watercolors and the colorful sheets of paper that are now scattered under my bed.
Missing has the weight of a million wet grains of rice. The leadened particles cling stubbornly taking effort to shake free. The plate resembled her craft and with each drizzle of sauce and placement of food on the white ceramic, she came into focus. And in the hours since, the ache of her memory has lingered.