Blog 48 – What is that smell???
Sweat was dripping down the back of my shirt. And my dinner companions were mopping their brows, as well. We were at a small open-air restaurant along a busy street outside of Bangkok Thailand. Our friends said this place was “amazing, some of the best local food around.” But….it was…hot outside…and I mean HOT. Our Thai friend ordered all of the dishes as soon as we arrived and we tried to relax, visit and stay as still as possible. And mop up the sweat. Then…
A woman came from the kitchen carrying a metal round doughnut-shaped jello mold on top of a can of Sterno. She shouted for people to get out of her way, she shouted at us to clear a spot on the table. As it sat in the center of the table flames leapt from the Sterno, up through the center hole, heating the liquid in the donut. The flames hit me in the face. MORE heat – exactly what I did not need! Whatever was in that donut: it was my enemy!
But then, out of the heat, there came the most amazing aroma. The dish was a fish soup. A simple broth, near to boiling. Floating along the top, an amazing array of herbs. I have no idea of their names. But my nose felt them sing to me. And within the broth, generous pieces of fish, flaky, consummately fresh, humble but proud in their contribution. Our Thai friend started to ladle the soup into small bowls. I took my bowl. I hesitantly let that new bit of heat come into my mouth. And the enemy became a new friend. The heat smiled, and made me smile as well.
I know: this is supposed to be a theatre blog. But what is theatre but wonderful stories that touch us and move us and change us? It’s not a place of cerebral instruction. It’s a place of concrete experiences that speak to each of us uniquely.
My dinner has lessons for me; no doubt about it. But I don’t need to tell you those. You can take whatever lesson is yours. Or not. You can also just savor the soup!
What are the stories you carry from memorable meals? No lessons, please. Just the stories! What do you think?