There are two kinds of hurricanes: the one that is raging up the east coast of the United States right now and the one that is my own personal hurricane created by another (number three!) disorganized move this past week. Regardless of their differences, both kinds of hurricanes require that one be fed despite the lack of the usual kitchen conveniences, preferably something hot and delicious that soothes the soul as well as fills the belly. These are desperate times and desperate times call for desperate measures. At least that's what I muttered to myself as I reached for the Instant Noodle Bowl Supper last night.
I'm not sure how the INBS came into my possession but there it was, calling out to me, promising to be quick, hot, and filling. Sustenance. Belly timber. The label said it was Smoky Teriyaki, which sounded kind of good at 10 PM after a long day of hauling the bulk of my personal belongings across town.
The packaging was designed for the microwave and consisted of a large plastic bowl with a plastic lid. It was stuffed full of several plastic packets, each holding a component of my supper: noodles, sauce, dried veg and a cute little pack of sesame seeds. Truth be told, the plastic bowl was kind of creepy so I tossed it and rummaged around until I found an old, very pretty copper pan. Somehow this made me feel a little better.
I dumped everything except the sesame seeds into the pot, splashed in a little water and coaxed on the heat. The old stove was new to me and it needed a little sensitive maneuvering to catch a flame, kind of like working the clutch of a temperamental sports car. But eventually it took, and a reassuring flame was blazing in my hearth.
Now that supper was imminent, I could relax a little and enjoy the moment. A glass of wine in hand, I peered into the pot and noticed that the fat squiggly noodles looked kind of appealing, all plump and coated with their Smoky Teriyaki. Even the dehydrated vegetables became less sinister as they soaked up the water and took on shape.
To be honest, I had pictured this first meal in my new life to be a little more refined. Something along the lines of thickly sliced garden tomatoes and a hunk of brick oven baked bread and a little wedge goat cheese, with grass green olive oil and crunchy flaked salt sprinkled over. Maybe a few anchovies or some sticky, smoky pate. (How obvious is it that I live in Berkeley now?) But INBS was the meal that arrived instead and if I've learned anything in this life, it's to make the most of what's right in front of you. Sometimes there are hidden gems lurking in the most unlikely of places.
I managed to locate a plate and fork so I dumped the noodles out and sprinkled on the sesame seeds which added a touch of sophistication and visual texture. (Or so I told myself.) Still standing there in the kitchen, I twirled and slurped up a big forkful of noodles, which were perfectly cooked and chewy. The rehydrated vegetables were chewy, too, which wasn't exactly what I would have wanted but hey, I was in this for the long haul now and those veg were just fine!
Actually, it wasn't half bad, this strange dish born of plastic and desperation. Certainly not something I'd eat every day or perhaps ever again, but I'll not complain or hold it in judgement. It was hot and savory and absolutely lived up to its promise to fill and sustain me. The sesame seeds popped in my mouth as I continued to chew and I found myself smiling, a little ping of happiness and reassurance that on this most discombobulating of days I had found sustenance, worthy of appreciation and gratitude, and it glowed and sparkled as much as any precious jewel.
How about those of you living in that first kind of hurricane? What kind of belly timber is sustaining you today? Is it worthy of praise and gratitude?
Related: Weekend Meditation: The Shared World
(Images: Dana Velden)