Tuesday, March 8, 2016

"Cooked" / I am a Whisperer

Yesterday I made Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Fancy Coleslaw.” It’s spicy and delicious and it calls for mayonnaise. I now make my own mayo and it tastes much more interesting than anything I have ever bought. It was especially nice with challah toast, my new favourite thing. Jeez, I love challah.
I am watching the television series, Cooked, based on the book by Michael Pollan. I haven’t read the book but I loved The Botany of Desire. He’s a great thinker and writer; he is the Simon Winchester (one of my favourite non-fiction writers) of food.

Cooked is in four sections that correspond to the four ancient elements: Earth, air, fire and water. Mr. Pollan writes about how these four elements changed our relationship with food. It is fabulously interesting.

In “Air,” he tells us about the history of breads around the world. An absolutely fascinating thing he says is this: If you give a man unlimited water and flour but nothing else to eat, he will die in a very short time. But if you give a man four and water and fire, so he can turn the flour and water into bread, he can live indefinitely.
I wake up because Leon has climbed up on the bed and come close to my face to pretend to rest. What he really wants is for me to get up, so I do and I feed him. I boot up my computer, allumer la radio (je l'écoute d'une station de radio française de Lyon) and I get myself a large drink. For the next several hours, I look at the news online and then at my favourite sites (blogs, Tumblr accounts, websites).

I am an optimist; I am a “glass full” kind of guy, so I wake up very happy every morning. When I was younger, and still to some extent today, the first thought in my head (an autonomic thought) is of the thing I am most looking forward to do in the day. It could be being with someone, a walk destination, something I am going to bake or a simple art project.

Inevitably, many several happy hours —I get up each morning around 4:00 am, don’t forget — someone phones and when I answer the call, I hear my voice. Until that moment, every day, I have forgotten that I cannot speak. Rather, I forget that I have to concentrate on speaking in order to make sound. 

When I moved to France, at first I lived internally in English and externally in French. Soon, however, I switched. My inner voice and even my dreams switched to French, but in that first phase, I had to concentrate to speak French and that is what life is like now: I have to concentrate to speak my mother tongue.

It reminds me of when I was diagnosed with AIDS. Each night, when I went to bed I would escape my symptoms and in my dreams I was not sick, but every morning when I woke up I'd have to remember I was dying (at the time) of AIDS. It was like being diagnosed again every day.

I am happy that I have found "Robo voice." Robo voice is what I call one way I speak that involves saying one word at a time. It makes me sound like a robot. I'm even fond of "Bruce." Bruce is the name I have given to my "accent voice." It's a kind of South African/British hybrid, my accent because it is crappy, but even though it is crappy, it allows me to be heard.

Still, it's a shock every day to rediscover that I am a whisperer.

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