I could have been a great cook

Actually, I could have been a great guitar player too.

Come to think of it, there are a lot of things I could have been great at, but this blog/post/scribble/fart in the wind is anything but a self glorifying circle jerk with my ego.

My upbringing

was full of art.

There was music playing in my house at all times. It was medicine. It was pleasure.

Music was to my family what the Birch tree was to the indigenous people of Canada.

Ok that’s perhaps a little dramatic. It didn’t exactly allow for fur trade or provide vitamin C in the winter time…

I used classical music to sleep as a kid, and even now when I lay in bed and my body tries to wriggle and squirm out from underneath the rock that my mind lays on it, toiling and stewing over all things yesterday and tomorrow, I lust after the romantic period of classical music.

The romantic

period of classical music is incredible. You’d have to be an internationally renown fuck head to not appreciate it.

You don’t need to be Sergei Rachmaninoff or studying Latin at Harvard to love it.

It’s available, and its obvious that you should like it once you hear it.

Many scholars will tell you better than I can why it’s known as the romantic period but here’s the reason I most resonate with:

There was war and chaos everywhere that there was music being created, before the mid to late 1800’s there was the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars were taking place.

Some seriously nasty shit.

…Set that aside for a moment.

The tools for creating music at the time were instruments like violins, harpsichords, and organs.

(I know there’s more instruments than that, but keep reading before you get all bunched up in the undies write a scathing email to me about it).

Harpsichords are keyed instruments like pianos but rather than a hammer, pressing a key would ‘pluck’ a single string to makes it sound.

This is obvious if you hear one. Just google it.

Ok stay with me

It took some time for Pianos to be created that had felt or soft leather hammers and therefore had the ability to be played softly.

As pianos developed each key received more strings. Today we have 3 strings per key, all tuned almost to the same note, to create a chorusing effect.

Once the amount of keys and octaves expanded the composers were now given instruments that had more keys, the ability to modulate volume, and that had a deeper, richer tone - such that deaf men like Beethoven could compose using its vibration.

All in all it was a more expressive instrument that the rest.

The Wars

like any wars of any time brought home hoards of men, broken and depressed from what they had bared witness to.

Some having lost all that was lovable within themselves, incapable of expressing pain or emotion.

Couple that with this new tool of music that is capable of delivering a most profound message and place it into the hands of master composers who write from the soul and to the soul of their audience, and the Romantic period of music is born.

Isn’t that just the most beautiful

fucking thing you’ve heard?

(What did Drake do for humanity except make it a little noisier? That off key, asynchronous cocky fuck face does little more than glamourize imbecilic ideals of grandeur and money. But I digress…)

So, far be it for me to be soothed by those soulful creations bread out of the necessity to heal emotional suffering.

Those same notes, although only carried through time on paper, still play today around the world and please millions.

My childhood was a Helmholtz resonator for the romantic period. The sound of it would spool and twist through our halls.

I wish I could say it had a calming effect on our explosive personalities, but sadly it only picked up the fall out.

So cooking…

What does this have to do with cooking?

Almost nothing if you don’t consider a meal to be a work of art.

My mother was responsible for the classical music in the house. My father for anything rock and roll - thank christ.

Because of them I was born an artist of some kind and we were all sure it was to be a musician, so into piano lessons I went.

30 years later I’m still not sure what I am.

My mother

was and is, and incredible cook.

I don’t think I need to tie together the relationship between one who loves music and plays piano, with one who has a passion for cooking.

But I will…once I reach the Allegory.

My Father

is from Pakistan. His mother is by far the best human this world has seen.

I call her Bebe and she should be hailed by all.

Tough. Loving. Hard as nails.

When she gets wind that any of her large family is coming to visit, she is busy in the kitchen making noise, making a mess, confounding anyone who watches, making magic.

The smell and aroma for miles can make the toughest of men weak in the knees.

The sound of sizzling and bubbling and the moisture rich atmosphere from all the steam pouring into the air creates this space that is free from all things except love and admiration.

My mother is

Dutch

Can you put it together why thats awkward? My mother is dutch, born and raised, my father is Pakistani.

Imagine the family dynamic when my father brought home the whitest woman in the world.

Bebe, tough, honest to a fault, and accepting nothing but the best put my mom through the motions and what came out was a Dutch woman moulded into a Pakistani cook, taking on the sense of taste, the tolerance for spice, and all the ideals of a strong Pakistani Bebe blended with the hard morals of an old school Dutch woman.

As a young pup

I unknowingly was enjoying the best of the world.

Eating some of the best meals and cramming some of the best desserts into my shitty little entitled face.

A loving environment filled with music. A stable home filled with art and thoughtful decor.

I was the worst of the world.

Too young and

too stupid

to appreciate any of it.

To this day I enjoy the benefits of being raised with a complex palate and the sense to work my way around a kitchen.

I enjoy the knowledge of music and the ability to repair myself with a guitar or piano when needed.

I have worked and taken advantage of those gifts and used them to teach myself other artistic skills and am now full time freelancing.

Ok, cooking…again.

I was a cook for a number of years for a number of restaurants.

I did well and I rose very quickly in the restaurant.

I can tell you that there isn’t a single normal person behind those ‘staff only’ signs you see in the restaurants.

What is behind there is a zoo full hardly contained, hungry, horny drug addicts just waiting for some blood, some action, some more of something they don’t know of yet.

It was a great environment for me as a young man, one in which I could flourish.

Cooks have to be a little broken.

Just like musicians do.

Somewhere deep inside something has to be a little bit off to pursue a career in the arts.

What seems like entertainment

for normal people is the life source for people who are fraught with self doubt.

A comedian telling a story about the time they did too many drugs and woke up in a different country is often them confessing. A sad way to relieve themselves of the pressure. An excuse for their behaviour. If it makes you laugh, and them money, then its justifiable.

Its a crutch.

A musician walks boldly into heartbreak. Seeks out the pain. Looks inward for fault and exploits it. Finds the basic desire of every human and rapes it open until they are soaked enough in its essence that they can wring out a lyric or two that makes you sympathize with them.

Its justifiable if it makes you smile, or cry, or laugh, or buy the damn CD.

A cook will scream, smash glasses at the feet of their employees, through full meals against the wall and belittle themselves and others. They’ll stay awake until 4am and return at 7am to begin the day. They’ll snort coke to stay awake and crush pills to fall asleep. They’ll curse and yell and push and at the same time encourage and help and understand until the plate they want to serve is the one they are holding.

Burned, scarred, irreparable hands, hand you a plate and it makes you leave a large tip, smile, say ‘compliments to the chef’ and tell your friends.

Its justifiable now for that cook to neglect his family. Miss every weekend, evening and holiday. To kick and scream and throw tantrums. To self medicate.

Not me.

I’m a different level of fucked up.

I was raised in too good of a family. In too good of conditions.

I don’t have the excuse that many of these men and women do.

I’m just simply a defective person who can pull off art because of my defect, but when it comes to a full submission of self, I’m just too well raised to do it.

That doesn’t mean

I was too proud (or too smart) to enjoy the drugs and the late nights with all the others.

I played my role, I did it well.

I put together some truly delicious meals, written some surprisingly good songs, and I’ve somehow been able to make at least one person feel something with one of my videos.

Had I kept going at any of it, I’d probably be a better person than I am now.

I’d probably be successful.

I wouldn’t be sitting in my cheap apartment wondering where my next paycheque will come from, avoiding any thoughts of retirement savings or pension plans.

I wouldn’t be dragging around this student debt and hiding money from my bank account.

I wouldn’t be me at all.

In fact, you’d never have read this and I’d be long dead.