When delicious food meets delicious writing…

Oct 25, 2010 by

My talented friend and fellow M.F.A. graduate Rashaan Meneses recently wrote "Like Fish to Ginger" a lovely and haunting story about a Thai immigrant and the complex chemistry of food and romance. Read the first few paragraphs here, then click on the link for more. It's a beautiful read. The only downside is that now I'm dying for a bowl of curry...

Like Fish to Ginger

By Rashaan Meneses Before I set out to make my mark in Los Angeles, I chased Sunee. We met in a steamy noodle house in the Dusit District of Bangkok where I elbowed my way from dishwasher to sous chef. Sunee worked as hostess. Both seventeen, she knew exactly what she wanted, and it wasn’t me. Like with a delicate soup, I had to know when to stir and when to let the ingredients meld on their own. For seven months I coaxed her to me, savoring every minute of it, the taste of falling in love. This was all ages ago when cooking was like breathing. What they say about this city isn’t true. There are windows of time when you can fly, like now. The Santa Monica Freeway is as perfectly clear as the skies above, and the Pacific Ocean gleams in the distance. If I pay close attention, the 10 will rise in a sharp incline as I leave downtown behind, and, for a split second, all I’ll see is blue sky swallowing warmth and light. I hold my breath for this ascension, am lifted, and then it’s over soon as it began. I try to focus on the errand my wife has assigned me. Thinking the sunlight has caught my gaze, I notice, almost before passing, a woman standing at the side of the freeway. Tall and lithe, she patiently waits, as if half of Los Angeles wasn’t roaring by at seventy-miles per hour. I park in front of her car then step onto the road to meet, at full force, the shudder of traffic. “Hi!” She shouts over the blare. “Thanks for stopping. It just died on me. Got any cables?” She squints. The sun shines bright above us, and her skin has already deepened from standing out too long. She follows me to my trunk. Her tread so fast, she steps on my heel. “Sorry,” she says with a shy smile and shakes her long blonde hair loose as if she’s just let it down. A nervous twitch I realize. I pull out a car kit. “Wow! You’re really organized.” I shrug embarrassed. “Always be prepared.” “I’m guessing by your accent you probably didn’t learn that in the Boy Scouts.” I laugh and shake my head. “I’m Elise.” She offers a sun-weathered hand. “Pravat Tanawat.” She takes mine in hers. “I really appreciate this, Pravat.” Her voice is throaty as if she’s spent a lot of time in a dry climate. Elise lifts the hood of her car. A constellation of freckles dots her bare neck and shoulders. She looks to be thirty-three, maybe thirty-five at most, much younger compared to my forty-nine. Her long skirt whips up from the force of the passing cars, and I watch a silver pendant dangle and twist from her neck as she helps me clamp the cables. “So, how do you support your heroic acts, Pravat?” “I own a restaurant. Try Thai in Thai Town,” “How fantastic! I always wanted to run my own business.” “If you wait too long, you’ll never do it.” I don’t mean to, or even want to, not really, but I catch a glimpse of her breasts when she leans over. Her blouse hangs low, and I notice the distinction between tanned skin to soft pale flesh. “That should do it,” I say, securing the other end of the cable to the frame of her car. My hands are covered in dirt. Sunee will be mad. Read the rest here in The Coachella Review.

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