Happy New Year

Happy New Year dear reader,

How did you bid farewell to 2018? Did you have a good feast with your loved ones before departing for the countdown? Did you stay up until midnight and live vicariously through random strangers on your screen just to secretly laugh when they hustled back home after the fireworks? Or were you like me, watching a good movie and sleeping at 11:30, feeling reassured tomorrow the alarm clock won’t ring – a day free of all worries and obligations. That is pretty much the best feeling in the world. What can I say, I’m a party pooper.

I’ve spent several New Year’s Eves alone, but never in despair. On the contrary, I enjoy the solitude. I’d like to picture myself staring into blank space and falling into deep retrospection, recollecting my resolutions and listing down new (and old) ones with(out) judgment. Instead, I stare into blank space, scribble a few notes and then slump onto bed like a sloth. Nevertheless, it’s ceremonious and ritual, the beginning of a better self in the next year, when things promise to turn the corner and milestones line up to be reached.

That solitude is also a luxury that allows me to cook. Oh all the cooking I’ve done in a festive mood since Christmas! Everything appears to move at a slower pace and I’m able to break free from the seemingly eternal loop of office-home. I befriend time again, making stew, baking desserts, trying new recipes that leave me fall flat on my face like a sad soufflé that never rises. Unable to recruit enough eaters, I freeze leftover in the fridge and continue cooking some more, for the kitchen is a place where your senses are so heightened and occupied you forget outside these walls, challenges await. One thing at a time, you tend to mishaps in the kitchen first, because that’s what you can. Like a well-trained chef, you toast spices, brown meat, deglaze and simmer stew. To prepare flans, you break eggs, scald milk, caramelize sugar and then start again because the first batch burns while you look away.

Immersing yourself in all that grease and heat has somehow become a coping mechanism and a prep course for the constant loop that is bound to return. You deal with life like how you’ll move in the kitchen – one thing at a time, organize your mis-en-place and clean as you go. This year, your soufflé will rise, things will turn the corner and milestones will be reached.

Happy New Year dear reader. May 2019 bring you joy and beautiful surprises.

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