This is a journal of our retirement move and life in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island's ruggedly beautiful west coast. The town's motto is "Enjoy life on the edge".

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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Cooking is Like Love

I read a good quote today:

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."

Harriet Van Horne

One of the joys of life is having a comfortable enough knowledge of cooking, and an adventurous appetite. I took up cooking as a necessity after my first wife and I separated. I won't tell you how limited and generally disgusting my first culinary forays were, that would be simply too embarrassing. Suffice it to say that over the ensuing years, I took on the role of cook in my new relationship, and gained not only knowledge, but a wonderful stress relief activity, and finally, of course, the deep satisfaction of a delectable meal.

And it's really not that difficult! Sure it takes time and a willingness to learn and explore, but in short order, you'll find that when you eat out at the majority of good and even many "fine" restaurants, the fact is, you could probably cook the same meal as well if not better, and at a fraction of the price.

After we moved back to Canada from our years in Seattle, Marcelle took time off work and during that period, started to learn to cook too. The bug bit her, and so we've had the luxury of having two competent cooks sharing the kitchen for some time. Even better, she likes to bake, something that I've yet to acquire the knowledge of... Man, baking is pure chemistry!

We often cook together, with one of us acting as sous-chef to the other, generally dictated by whose dish it is. We are lucky that our place here in Ukee has a nice large, open kitchen, quite conducive to more than one chef. What we call a 'two-butt kitchen'. We mesh well together, dividing tasks, readying for your partner, doing cleanup, and yours truly snagging a kiss on the back of her neck whenever possible. What is it about a woman's neck that is so worthy of attention and affection? I'm sure I don't know. I simply react as programmed, and sidle in unobtrusively to snag another snog.

We're a couple of romantics, both having been lucky enough to actually meet our soulmate. We unabashedly show our emotions and love for one another, and never, not for one moment, take each other for granted. It works. Whatever you give to a good relationship, you get back more. It's like some weird universal law of inverse attraction thingamabob gobbledygook. The more understanding and compassion you both bring, the greater the joy and satisfaction. It's like the lady said, enter into it with abandon or not at all!

Sharing a scrumptious meal with a soulmate is an almost multi-dimensional experience: You have the above mentioned bliss of the relationship, and then on top of that, the various and delightful levels of experience the food brings: heat, spice, texture, taste and aftertaste. And then, of course, there are all the aromas that drive us insane as we cook the meal; the kitchen redolent with garlic and curries, onions and cilantro. There's even an aural component: the repetitive chopping of cashews; the bubble of boiling water; the spit-spat as the onions drop into the hot butter to be sautéed. It's all magic!

Today we have the compounded joy in that this meal we're preparing, a vegetable korma, will be going with us to Vancouver tomorrow to be shared with some dear friends. It's really all about love. Ooooh! There's that neck again, you'll have to excuse me.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Chaos Calls To Us

I went out alone on Sunday, driving up to the northern trailhead of the Wild Pacific Trail and then walking slowly down to the rocky promontory that we call Marcelle's Point. Along the way, I stop off at most of the benches and scan the view to see what may be new and interesting (weather-wise and/or ocean-wise).

My lenses today are Voigtländer 12mm and 90mm (18mm and a 135mm at 35EQ), so whatever I shoot is constrained to the field of view those focal lengths provide. This is in contrast to shooting with zoom lenses, which I tend to do more often.

The 12mm super-wide is unbeatable for getting the big picture view.

Whereas the 90mm short telephoto is more adept to picking off the details. With an aperture of f3.5, it renders a crisp main subject, and a marvelous out-of-focus background (bokeh).

Here, I've a shot taken with the 12mm, of my other body with the 90mm on it, followed by the shot that it took. This, quite graphically, illustrates the different views of the two lenses!


All along the trail itself, there is a wealth of beauty and wonder that is there just to delight in if you only have the eyes and the time.


In the recent movie, Prometheus, one of the characters exclaims, "God does not build in straight lines", and that struck a chord with me. Only in the basaltic columns and in crystalline forms do we see a "straight" line. Beyond that, we get into the rounded shapes (such as our bodies) and then eventually it all goes to chaos. But the really interesting thing, visually, is that you can get these 'states' colliding and offering up wonderful mutations of order and chaos.

Sitting on a rocky crag, just metres above the surf, I can spend long intervals just mesmerized by the swells. The absolute, ever-changing chaos that swirls and heaves, advances and recedes and calls to us all.



It's endlessly fascinating. KKCO