Letters by Kenny Mah

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Eating in

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May 28, 2008

Hey you,

We eat in all the time.

It didn’t use to be this way. You can be reclusive but I’ve been accused of being a social butterfly; weeks can go by when I only return to my apartment to drop into my bed, exhausted, gone. Yet when we first dated, you came out of your shell, you came out with me. Dining out was the norm. After all, there wasn’t much food in either of our apartments.

Our larders were bare.

Perhaps they were waiting to be filled, to have our honesty and our passions spent on them, our devotions to grocery lists and googling for one-pot dishes. We cook for each other. We do things for each other. This is one what people who love one another do, surely. This is us feeding each other’s appetites.

There are other desires besides Desire. This is about filling our bellies with the warmth of building the two of us, of building a family of two. Just the two of us. Friends call, plead to be invited over, and we promise then, sure, soon. Not yet though. Now is time for the two of us. Just us.

What is my favourite dish, you ask me. And I wonder. I love my mom’s chicken peppercorn soup, spicy and ferocious… but that’s my mom’s dish. What is yours? What is ours? Could it be that bowl of chicken porridge (thigh meat, not breast, you remind me, ignoring my fondness for the latter), gently simmered over hours on slow heat, served with a smattering of slivered eggs (both century and salted), green, crunchy dou miao, salty-oily eggplant and Japanese saba.

You tell me love is like a bowl of porridge, it takes a long time to make the best, the simplest of tastes. This must be why I like your porridge so much. I can have it any time, I can have it for all the years to come, so long as you continue to make it for me. Better yet, teach me how to make this porridge, let’s cook it together, we’ll feed each other with our appetites and our vows.

Yours always and always,

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