Has knowledge begun to lose its significance?
In my year and a half as a sushi chef, I have chopped legions of cucumbers. When I tried to calculate the number, it was somewhere in the several thousands. This fact unsettles me because I ponder what numerous other skills could I have acquired if not for these damn vegetables? This precise concern is telling of both myself, and my generation. We are a group of learners and, in many of our humble opinions, masters of just about anything and everything we decide to watch a youtube tutorial of.
Although I am fascinated by the culture and traditions surrounding Japanese food, learning it’s nuances can be very frustrating. The repetition, the slow precision, the vast patience it requires, contradicts the rapid pace at which I usually live my life. I’ve noticed that my short and constantly moving attention span is not something unique to myself but rampant throughout my peers. Perhaps, growing up during the expansion of technology and the acceleration of communication has spurred an inability for me to slow down. Focus is spread between computer, phone, the person sitting across from me, and the sound system playing over head.
Now combine this with the effortless accessibility to knowledge. With such ease has information and its attainment begun to lose its significance? When answers are freely discovered, the quest to do so no longer holds any magnitude. I guarantee you that if you have ever had to find the answer to something strictly through non-electronic means, the result will be remembered. How many question has Siri answered for you that you have instantly forgotten?
Recently, my sister decided to prepare dinner. Before her, a whole, plastic wrapped, uncooked, unsuspecting chicken, calmly poised beneath a knife she was holding like a dagger. I tactfully, in my older, all knowing way, asked if she had ever broken down a chicken? “No,” she replied nonchalantly, unconcerned of such trivial matters, “But I’ll figure it out”.* This “I’ll figure it out” attitude towards life has set the foundation for my fellow millennials to start companies and fashion themselves into invaluable individuals all by their own means. What I love about this, is it breaks down past models of success and begins to level the playing field. But what happens when a life devoted to a specific skills becomes obscure? When our attention is spread so thinly across various arenas, that we forget the power of focused knowledge? What happens when everyone is a “master” of everything?
*The chicken was cooked beautifully.
"Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life." -- William Faulkner
Recently life has been lacking a bit of spice. So to remedy the situation, two of my dearest friends and I decided to make an Indian feast. The menu was comprised of chicken and vegetable butter curry, naan, samosas, rice and spicy ginger drinks. Here are my two favorite recipes we created.
Side note: it turns out Puerto Rican music make for great tunes while preparing an Indian feast, who would of thought.
Recipes: Vegetable Samosas
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
3/4 tsp salt
6 TBLS butter
8 TBLS cold water
Couple dashes of curry powder
2 potatoes diced
1 large onion diced
1 bag frozen peas and carrots
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp salt
3-4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Vegetable oil for frying (we used avocado oil but it’s expensive so I recommend canola or grape seed instead.)
Combine the flour, curry powder and salt together in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture, using a fork or food processor. Once crumbles start to form, add the water a little at a time until a dough is made. Knead for around 5 minutes and then let sit for at least 15.
Cut the potatoes into cubes and cook until soft. Drain and mash adding the peas and carrots. Sauté the cumin seeds in a little vegetable oil until fragrant. Then, add the onions and cook until golden brown. Add the ginger, garlic, salt, curry powder, and cayenne. Cook for another 3 minutes, and then add the lemon juice. Add this to the potato mixture and mix until combined. Taste and see if the mixture needs any more spices or salt.
Divide the dough into 9 pieces. Rolling each one, on a floured surface, into about a 6” circle. Cut the circle in half and coat the straight edge with water. Then fold the piece over and seal along the straight line to form a cone shape. Add the filling, but leave enough room and seal the top. Pinch the two sides that were sealed to make sure they will hold. In a pan, heat several inches of oil until hot. Add a couple samosas at a time, not overcrowding. Fry until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes on each side.
Eat with chutney or, in our case, dip in curry.
Recipe: Spicy Ginger
Makes 4 servings
4 bottles Reeds ginger beer (or whatever you can find that is similar)
Squeeze of lemon
Dash of cayenne
Mix all ingredients in a glass with a little bit of ice and enjoy.