Trying to cut chorizo with a dull kitchen knife is like trying to skate with rebar for blades. Cooking is supposed to be relaxing, not set me swearing in two languages.
I pick a hole in the casing and squeeze the meat out. It’s a bit disgusting, really, but the primacy of working with my hands is therapeutic.
As I chop the onion, tears cloud my vision. I don’t brush them away. It’s as if this onion gives me the right – a reason – to cry. I allow my existential fears and frustrations to become manifest, here, for these two minutes, when otherwise I stuff the emotions down. Soldier on.
My once proud, now sad J.A. Henckels has just enough blade to slice through celery. I fall into a meditative rhythm: chop-chop-chop-chop-chop-chop-chop.
The sausage, garlic, onions, celery and olive oil make one another’s acquaintance in the pot, tumble around as I stir. Lid on. Let simmer.
In the meantime, Swiss chard with rhubarb-red stems, veins snaking through dark green leaves are next on the block. More beautiful than any painted still life, they bring the hint of a smile to my lips.
A can of diced tomatoes is opened with ease thanks to a new opener. We bought it to save my RSI-fraught arms, though I now know my repetitive strain injury is psychosomatic, a manifestation of stress.
The label on a can of Bella Tavola chick peas leads me ponder what tavola means in Italian. TA-vo-la. Ta-VO-la. I must know, look it up at once: table. "Beautiful table." Aha, like "beautiful meal." What I hope this dish will be.
As the lid comes off the pot, the fragrance that wafts up takes me back to Spain. To warm sunshine. Cold white and blue tiles. The smell wraps around my heart like a blanket.
In go the tomatoes, beans, chard, and homemade chicken stock. My long wooden spoon whirls it all around. Now, patience, until the flavors slowly mingle.
Patience. Comfort. Ease. Beauty. Meditation. Emotion. All this in a pot of soup.