A Rice Bowl Through the Lens of Uniqueness
During these first months of 2021, I’ve been diving deep into the topic of human differentiation and exploring how our uniqueness can actually be the greatest gift to the collective. More specifically, my wife and I have gone down the rabbit hole of Human Design, a system of ancient and modern modalities that reveals our energetic blueprint and allows us to create flow in all areas of life (eating, sleeping, communicating, decision-making, learning, etc).
Only once we acknowledge all sides of ourselves (our true self below the layers of outer conditioning) and embrace our entire being, can we step into our fullness. I found myself translating this concept into food and considering how each and every ingredient should be fully expressed within the collective that is a composed dish.
My experience in preparing food and observing chefs, farmers and artists has instilled in me the importance of expressing the "terroir" or the story of each ingredient, celebrating its journey from seed to plant. A process of highlighting its unique taste, texture, shape is the goal.
To that end, we must treat each ingredient respectfully and individually in order to enhance the greater whole. Similarly, if we humans embrace our individuality, we contribute to a greater collective consciousness.
As such, when we prepare food, we must take into consideration how a particular ingredient is to be cooked, seasoned, and positioned intricately on the plate. For example, it may make sense to cut veggies in a way that showcase their original form rather than hiding them in an anonymous cube. I love when the tender leaves of radishes are attached in a gorgeous crudité display. Or perhaps an ingredients' flavor is better expressed through one cooking technique over another. These are all decisions by the cook that will impact the final product.
As I prepared a simple rice bowl for dinner the other night, I paused to admire the array of colors and textures in that single dish and then proceeded to co-mingle the ingredients. Each bite containing a unique combination of seasoned rice, crisp raw turnips, grated earthy carrots, silky avocado, half moons of toasted coconut, and the rich oozy quality of a pastured chicken egg yolk.
To me, this entire bite is bliss. A harmonious chorus of flavors and textures that come together as a whole but whose individual nuances are still present.
My wife, on the other hand, prefers to savor each of the components individually. Her version of the bowl experience is to take a full bite of the white rice and to notice what’s there. Hmm, I taste the tropical notes of coconut oil, the umami of the liquid aminos, and the balanced acidity of the rice vinegar, all joining together in these bite size granules of flavor.
I admire her focused attention to each ingredient and the observations that come from that journey. Her bite of shredded carrots, so pure in its integrity, with nothing to mask the earth from which it was grown. I sample a bite and delight in the oneness of this ingredient. Normally, my carrots would be coated in sauce and perhaps combined with a crunchy condiment.
Through our diverse eating experiences, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate the inherent beauty of individuation within our plates.
It is critical that we savor each and every component and yet also find a way to enjoy the flavors of the whole if that is what we personally prefer. Lets honor the gift of uniqueness we are granted in our lifetime.