Of Wonder and Eggs.

On this Easter Eve, I find myself looking back over nearly a year of posts. My blog will be a year old on April 8th, and I can hardly believe that a year has gone so quickly. I was recently asked what made me start blogging. I've been doing what you faithful readers have been seeing here for the past 12 months, for a much longer time than I've been writing about it. I may not have been quite as prolific when I was working a job or multiple jobs, but I was still making my own noodles and chicken stock, and stockpiling quick homemade meals in my freezer, and reading as much (usually in the way of cookbooks or magazines back then) as I was able.

But what made me decide to start writing about the food I make was the sudden passing of my uncle a year ago. It really affected me. It made me stop and realize just how precious our day to day lives are, and on a grander scheme how the things I love are important to others. While food blogging could seem frivolous and lighthearted at times, I often draw so many correlations to the bigger picture, especially during this Easter season which is very important to me.

One of my favorite food ruminations is that of milk and honey. Nearly all life on our planet must be sustained by eating foods that first must die. This goes for people of all dining preference: vegetarian, carnivore, vegan. All diets contain that element of the brevity of life, be it a lamb or cow, or a stalk of wheat or a lowly legume. When God promised the Israelites the land of Milk and Honey, it confirms to me the amazing knowledge of life everlasting. Milk and honey are two of the only foods that are nutritionally valid and contain no death to produce. (I think an argument for maple syrup could be made, but to my knowledge, there were no maple trees in the desert...)

Food blogging has been a series of personal kitchen adventures for sure, but it has also changed the way I see this basic necessity for life. I've heard it said that there are two types of people, those that live to eat (*raising hand*) and those who eat to live. No matter your category, you can't escape the fact that everyone, everywhere, needs to eat to live. In this incredible era of computing, I can immediately have access to hundreds of thousands of ethnic recipes from cultures around the world. If it is edible, I'd wager it has been written about somewhere. And it's all because we have the amazing privilege, I believe by design, to eat.

Not only does eating sustain us physically, but it does mentally as well. Conversation that can be had over mealtime is often among the most memorable. And what you ate on a first date, or an anniversary, what kind of cake you dreamed of for your birthday, what foods are served after a funeral of a loved family member, these are all very powerful things that we carry around with us, intrinsic parts of especially our childhood memories. They are the things that unite food bloggers of all types, regardless of all the external things that hang up all of us humans in endless debate and argument.

I think the egg is an important part of Easter for me personally. Though I wrote a very inarticulate essay by comparison, in his book The Elements of Cooking, Michael Ruhlman's discussion of the egg is alone worth the cover price. I read this book for the first time a couple of months ago, and I really find myself thinking about it often. A sample of his passage on the egg:
My reverence for the egg borders on religious devotion. It is the perfect food - an inexpensive package, dense with nutrients and exquisitely flavored, that's both easily and simply prepared but that's also capable of unmatched capability in the kitchen. Yes, an egg is just an egg, but it is also ingredient, tool, and object, a natural construction of near mystical proportions..... Eggs are appropriate to serve at any time of day for any meal. They can be the main item or the garnish, they can be served simply in rustic preparations, but they are equally suited to four star cuisine. No other ingredient has so many uses and effects. The egg is a wonder.
Easter in particular holds a special place for eggs. We dye and hunt for them. We make them out of chocolate. We fill plastic ones full of jelly beans. As I type, I'm waiting patiently for my Chocolate Schaum Torte (courtesy of Burp! Where Food Happens) to bake; it is full of the wonderful levity that egg whites produce. I'm glad I decided to make it, since this is my first ever Easter dinner at my house - with just my little family. A dessert appropriate for Easter in my 33rd year...

One night this past week, we had eggs for supper. My Husband: two fried, with runny yolks. I decided at the last minute that I had to have a soft boiled egg. I have never had one! I've eaten eggs all sorts of ways, including raw, but never have I soft boiled one. I remember Sasa telling me how she loved them as a child, and called her to ask how many minutes to boil them. She said 5 minutes without hesitation, and then Googled to be sure. Bring water to a boil, carefully lower eggs into water, and boil 5 minutes. That's it. Without a doubt, the best way I have ever eaten an egg - even if I had to improvise an egg cup by using my 1/8 cup measure and the 2 ounce side of a bar jigger. I am not sure I could eat two of these every day as Nigella Lawson does, but I can tell you I will be eating many more of them in the future.

As CakeWalk bravely enters year two, I have no idea what will be in store. I am frequently surprised even at the direction my thoughts take me as I type away, let alone what will be on the docket of food adventures. I do know that I am thankful for this opportunity to share what is important to me, and that I live in a place where I can sit here and type whatever comes to mind without fear. (I just recently read of a blogger who was visiting China, and had to post her food adventures when she returned because they do not allow blogging!) I enjoy being a small part in other people's lives, and in some cases discovering what that little part is. It's also quite contenting to know that I may never know some people who read about my little life, just as some others don't know that I read about theirs. A great mystery in this wonderful life.