Sometimes bad things happen to really good people. Sometimes those good people get to rediscover their hidden talents and pleasures. For example, my roommate, Benjamin Rogers, is going through some rough times in his life. But I get to see him nearly every night rediscover life and pleasure. You see, Ben has been all over the world, and one of the things he has taken from this experience is cooking. Ben can cook, seriously good foods.
Now I am the lucky one that gets to not only experience this hidden talent, he is taking the time to teach me everything from different recipes, how to cook, to the sensations of new and different flavors. No matter how stressful the day is, he comes home and the true pleasures begin. In our small kitchen, the lessons begin. No, I don’t sit in a chair and just watch, I dig in, I mess up, I learn, and I get to create along side of him.
Tonight was a special new meal that I had never had before and Ben had not had the pleasure of making. Pad Thai. Our new Ikea brand wok heats up on the stove with some oil, I watch him expertly cut up the vegetables and mix up the ingredients. I don’t play with knives and watching Ben dice, mince, carve, and chop is something of an art. I create the line of ingredients and he moves over to the wok and tells me to get ready because it’s going to happen quick.
The kitchen fills up with heavenly scents of the garlic, soy sauce, hot chili sauce (rooster sauce), chicken, noodles, cilantro, scallions, and various other smells I am still only beginning to learn about. He is right, it’s quick cooking. He plates the food (another art form as he takes pleasure in making the plates pretty) and hands me mine. Grabbing the napkins and chop sticks I sit down and just let the aroma of this food wash over me, learning to identify each one of the ingredients.
Let me just say, the Pad Thai was wonderful! The flavors don’t assault you, but gently roll around in your mouth, each one slowly coming to the front with each bite to be presented and then back away for the next one to come forward. The squirt of lime over the freshly chopped cilantro added just the right pop to the dish. It was delicious and I cannot wait until the next time he makes it.
On my newly awakening flavor palate I give this dish a 9.5 out of 10. Check out his website over the next couple of days for the recipe and try it yourself.