seeing them and thinking in them.
I spent about an hour or so today making yakgwa with my little sister.
There are a couple of laws that govern oil splatters:
The first is that oil only splatters when humans are close.
The second is that they only hit people where they are uncovered, evidenced but how untouched my watch is.
The third is that covering up makes your movements sloppy and causes more of them.
I’ve never eaten yakgwa that were bought, to be honest, I do not know if they are supposed to taste the way ours do.
But they taste good, so I suppose that’s all that really matters.
I rarely measure things for cooking, even with recipes they tend to be a guide rather than an end-all.
With liberal tweaking and a careless disregard for accuracy with scales and measurements, heaped tablespoons rather than leveled cups and testing for the desired texture with fingers and adding water and sesame oil as I like it.
Dumping in salt and putting golden syrup not just as the honey syrup but into the dough.
Folding it over repeatedly and counted the folding in thirds until the number of layers reaches 243, with five folds, 3^5, 3, 9, 27, 81, 243.
Take away half if our hands are so unskilled in compressing and we still have over a hundred layers.
Squash it down to a fairly uniform block, shape the sizes but do not cut and patch like we do with shortcrust to maintain the layers.
Using again, hands because the rolling pin is but a few steps away in a cupboard.
Hot oil and changing the fire in between batches, a plate lined with two layers of paper towels, splatters and pretending that nothing splattered so she’s not afraid to try and cook
My hands hurt a little, little pinpricks of heat and spots of oil, light discolourations that have become part of the back of my hand – I do not know them well.
Skin cells that die and are shed, in years to come, the cells I have now will no longer be the same cells as the ones I have today, I will be, on a cellular level, entirely different if not for the fact that the DNA should be the same, barring copying errors.
Back to layers, the yakgwa puff so beautifully in hot oil – coming up to only their middle because without a rolling pin I daren’t flatten the dough too much and of course, saving cooking oil.
The yellow oil skews our perception because our brains automatically try to correct the colours for us.
It looks uncooked in the oil but when you flip the little pieces, the bottom half is golden, not yellow, cooked and not uncooked.
The layers are separate but not quite distinct, too delicate to be peeled apart individually but texturally (again by feel and not by sight), the rectangles of yakgwa absorb the syrup well and have enough lightness to counter the cloying sweetness and richness of the sesame oil-based dough.
Today I also made chapati and doughs vary a lot though they’re often all referred to as a ‘dough’.
It’s similar to how we have near 8 billion people but we’re all called ‘human’.
I like sweet things.
That reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend who’s a bit of a nihilist and anarchist at the beginning of the year.
“You seem like a sweet kind of person,” I explained as I gave the person a box of pocky for their birthday. One of my favourite flavours, from one of the special series.
Though taken aback they asked in turn, “What do you like?”
I smiled and replied, “Sweet things.”
The person blinked and replied, “I will take it that you mean that in the literal sense of the word, and not sweet as like sweet.”
I laughed, “Either way works but yes, I did mean the literal way considering we were just talking about food.”
I’ve also been thinking about gifts recently.
It’s kind of hard to pick gifts that are meaningful without appreciating a person and appreciating the relationship you share with that person.
To my one of my closest and dearest friends (I dare say you’re the only person with whom I’ve had a sustained friendship with since forever – I am grateful that we decided to continue talking) I swear, right, your gift will get to you before the one month mark.
I’ll write everything else on the note, but on the off chance that you’re reading this when we should both of studying, I hope that it can be a little of what Sans is to me.
I tried uh, on Wednesday, but the post-office ran out of scotch tape :’)
Let’s keep trying to go back to layers.
My fingers smell of sesame oil now.
It’s not necessarily a bad smell but my room smells of it now.
Behind it, the smell of oil in general, then the golden syrup – to the green tea in my cup.
Layers and layers in people.
Needless to say layers in food are far more pleasant to look at.
Here’s to a today where I have to be careful of what I say and in particular how I treat people.
I’m a little worried.
Layers and the layers of the emotional turmoil I go through when I think of things like, “What should I say or not so that you do not misunderstand me?”
My strength and physical violence which has always been a last resort but a resort of mine nonetheless – I’d like to think of myself as strong, it’s so easy to think and dream of being a hero but when there is no clear-cut enemy, I become my own worst enemy.
Eyes deliberately cold, shoulders taut like braced to take a hit and the slide of a gaze over the scene and thinking, “Well.”
Careful in the way you present yourself and do not relax because everything you wish won’t happen might just happen.
You don’t hear teardrops when they hit the floor,
Only when the water passes under a bridge does it pass,
but water is always flowing under the bridge,
like events under the carpets of your mind.
The mind is a creation of its own,
the mindscape the dominant aspect that has won and
cannot take ‘no’ for an answer.
I hold my breath as I swim,
diving as deep as I can into the depths,
t(c)rying to understand.
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