A lesson in grace
Or at the very least, gratitude.
I think I have mentioned that I cook a lot. I like to cook things from around the world, things I have never had, things that I am not completely certain that I am making correctly, but they taste great, and YouTube exists for walkthroughs, so all in all, I think I do fairly well.
Often when I am cooking something from a region of the world that is quite distant, or that region of the world uses ingredients that aren’t common to the markets around me, I turn to the same place everyone else does, the internet. Usually, after paying a bit more than I would like for shipping, I can get exactly what I am looking for, down the brand that was recommended.
Sometimes however, that isn’t the case. Sometimes you simply cannot get a particular ingredient. In this case I am talking about frozen short grain rice flour used in making tteokbokki, or spicy Korean rice cakes. They look really really tasty;
and I’m thinking… I need to eat that. Regardless of the number of videos that I come across from Korean people that say… it’s not worth the trouble. Find them premade, and do it that way. Making them from scratch is not something that is high on the recommendation list.
Well, I can’t find them premade, so I figured that I would get the frozen short grain rice flour. It doesn’t seem like it would be hard to find, somewhere has to ship this, right? Nope. Nowhere does, and I am out of luck. Now, I can make it myself using short grain rice and milling it through a food processor, and I might do that, but that is neither here nor there. What this entry is about is a lesson in gratitude.
We live in a world that we can get almost everything, and are annoyed when it doesn’t arrive fast enough. What do you mean Amazon is going to get it here Saturday? It’s Wednesday.
“Why do they need so long? What the hell Amaz… oh wait, here’s another seller. They can get it here tomorrow.”
Does that sound familiar to you? I be that it does, and we are so used to everything being on demand that we have forgotten how impressive this is in the grand scheme of things. When was the last time you stopped to consider how fortunate we are, and how amazing the world is. Have you ever broken down what it is to make something?
When you cook, you are taking ingredients that someone else grew, someone else transported, someone else sold to you, so you could put that dish together. We expect it now, and grocery stores are expanding the types of food that they carry more and more all the time. However, the process of that dish coming to fruition might be one that you absolutely could not have done just a hundred and fifty years ago. A blink in time, and things have changed this much.
Frozen short grain rice flour. It’s such a specific ingredient, and it is the only one that works to produce the result that I am looking for. I have everything else. Ingredients from around the world fill my food stores. Fermented pepper paste? No problem, I have it in a five pound tub. Korean chili flakes? Two pounds in the kitchen, more in storage. Hungarian paprika? I go through so much in the winter, I have it on autoship.
I have never fermented gochujang. I have never grown rice, let alone milled it. I have never spent a year making doenjang, and why should I? If I order in the next hour, it can be here tomorrow. That’s incredible. The idea that I can have this massive apparatus of international trade work together to bring me the things that I want… overnight.
My point with this is to take a step back and really think about the things that you have been granted in this life, and how incredible life is. We get very used to having all these things available to us, and forget the massive effort it really takes to make that possible. It is easy, when it is so common, when it becomes the background of our existence, when it becomes expected.
A friend of mine had this notion, that perhaps they were disconnected with how easy life was, and wanted to look into what life is like for other people around the world through watching documentaries. What they found was eye opening and sobering.
I think that it is all too easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of life when taking a moment to think about, and be grateful for the larger picture that provides a great deal of convenience, but also some pretty amazing stuff on a daily basis.
Now, off to find someplace that has frozen short grain rice flour. It’s out there somewhere, I just have to be stubborn enough to find someone that can ship it.