The Art of Cooking

by Peter Wu

In the beginning, there was only hunger. The fridge was completely empty. And so he saw that there was nothing and said, “Let there be food.” But the fridge remained empty. I mean, come on, this wasn’t no fairy tale and he wasn’t a magician nor some demigod. So he pulled himself out of bed, and still dressed in his pajamas, he drove all the way to the nearest supermarket. He bought some necessities, a lot of beer, and some foodstuffs because he had resolved to learn the art of cooking.

On the first day, which was a Monday, he made toast. He scraped off the burnt edges with a knife and spread butter on it. And he saw that it was good enough to eat, so he stuffed it in his mouth. I was a bit salty with a hint of bitterness.

On the second day, a Tuesday, he tried making cereal. Pouring the milk into the bowl of Rice Krispies, he listened for the snap, crackle and pop the box promised. He took pride in his progress. Food shows on TV were overrated. There’s no need for all that beautiful presentation. Food serves only one purpose, to satisfy the hunger in you. And you can’t satisfy that hunger by just looking at the food, can you? This bowl of Rice Krispies looked ugly, but it satisfied him plenty.

On the third day, you know which day, he experimented with chickens and other birds. There was deli turkey, turkey bacon, smoked turkey, and chicken breasts. Mainly chicken white meat. He cracked the seed that came from chicken, and fried it in a pan and put it on his toast – which was not so burnt on this day. He cut up the breast of the chicken and seasoned it with ketchup and mustard. It was not delicious, but at least it was satisfying. In fact, it was so satisfying that he ate it for the rest of that week. Starving? Who’s starving? Not him.

On the fourth day, someone left a plate of mini sandwiches in the staff lounge. He thought they were free. They looked free, so he ate some, and stuffed the rest in his pockets. When Lucy asked who ate the sandwiches – sandwiches that were meant for the clients – he just kept quiet and made sure the other sandwiches were well hidden in his file cabinet.

On the fifth day, he watched a video online to learn how to cook rice. He turned off the stove and opened up the  pot and let the steam rise up to fog his glasses. With a ladle he scooped up the rice, and ate it with some chicken. The rice was crunchy, but he didn’t care. It went down his throat and filled up his tummy, that was all that mattered.

On the sixth day, his ambitions got the better of him. He bought some beef, as well as some carrots and bell pepper, and chopped them all up into cubes and strips. The chopping left him with a few cuts, he surmised that he needed more practice on handling a knife. He tossed all the cubes and strips of carrots and bell pepper into a pan. Into the same pan he continued to throw in strips of beef and dashed in a little bit of salt and pepper. He stirred until it all sizzled. The air was filled with the smell of burnt beef and black pepper. Luckily, he was too lazy to replace the batteries in the smoke detector or else it would have been beeping his ears out right now.

And on the seventh day, he decided to order pizza. He slouched on the sofa, drank a beer and ate a slice of the pizza in celebration of him acquiring this new skill called cooking. His road to adulthood was looking good so far. For next week, he took a big gulp, next week I’ll tackle this thing called making friends he thought to himself as he grabbed another slice of pizza.


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