Dear Sarah Barry,
After just fifteen years, Sarah, [I always was a late bloomer] I finally got my mortar & pestle. I remember watching you grind fennel seeds, releasing that blissful aroma, preparing onions and garlic (for every dish!), practicing the perfect rice, trying Indian recipes, stir fry's, and experimenting with exploding, fantastical rice noodles. Oh. Those were good days and I can still feel the warm glow from your living room, catch the hot and steamy scent of good food cooking in your wok, hand-oiled, in that tiny, run-down kitchen in the back of your mother-in-law's house, or other times, in our shared apartment. You taught me to love cooking food, and to relish health and creative artistry at the same time.
I burst my new mortar & pestle out of its box, without even washing it (and you know how I feel about germs), and threw in some fennel, ground the seeds wide open and tossed them into the tomato, onion and sausage quiche I am preparing for dinner. It's baking now, and I am thinking of you with fond and loving memories.
Thank you for teaching me to love, Sarah, in so many wonderful ways. And thank you for bringing me to a deep love of cooking delicious food.