The day I remembered was an afternoon in late autumn when I was in my third year of undergrad. I was hanging out and doing homework in the common area of my boyfriend's dorm. At that time, he lived in a dorm with a big shared kitchen, and it was always fun to camp out and watch the guys he lived with figuring out how to cook edible food. While it wasn't a new skill for many of them, some of them got more than a little creative in their efforts. We kept wondering if the guy who literally lived on meat and potatoes, no salt, would develop a vitamin deficiency. J.'s roommate seemed to mostly subsist on instant kimchi noodles. And J. himself was a big fan of orange juice smoothies. Made mostly with a can of orange juice concentrate and very little else.
Anyway, that day, J. was still in class and I was doing homework, and one of our mutual friends was making spaghetti. He could definitely cook, and cook well, but he preferred non-Western food. This was his first time making a spaghetti (Bolognese) sauce. He called me over to taste it. He felt like something was missing but didn't know what. "Needs more oregano," I said, almost without thought, after tasting the sauce. So he added more oregano and went on with his dinner preparation.
I remember the moment because I then noticed I had become someone who could figure out what a sauce was missing, a skill I had mostly attributed to adults. And all of sudden, I was one of them.
|My current version of spaghetti, which includes carrots, cheese, and pork.|