I am on that roller coaster of weirdness this week. The darkness of November coupled with more than a few setbacks have made it difficult to brave the early mornings, but if there is one thing that I have learned it is to keep going and just accept that there will be failures to match whatever success is achieved. I did not win any awards at RMG Exposed, I was given a StupidSmart car as my weekend rental, my building is trying to charge me $750 for a 9-11 call when I was stuck in the elevator a few weeks back that I did not make, the Nepal trip in March was canceled due to some concerns, and I have no energy to speak of. I could complain and blame the world for not being nice to me, but that would be fruitless and naive. I am a lucky man to be able to do what I do and live a good life. Amidst the negatives, I have received a few nice emails about the photography on the blog that indicated that my work, my writing and the way I am living my life was inspirational them in some small way. Fair enough; I can deal with the tough stuff if I know that it matters that I do.
In an attempt to raise my spirits I picked up a beautiful duck breast at Oliffe tonight. However, after cooking it in a French-style I decided I was in need of something more exotic and flavourful to fend off the grumpy feelings, so I carefully sliced the breast thinly and seared the duck with Chinese Five Spice powder, orange juice, vanilla-flavoured sugar, tamari sauce and rice wine vinegar until it carmelized. Served next to a chunk of kimchee and it was ready to be devoured. It is funny because one of the great things I have gained from travel is a clear understanding of how different cultures cook and how to reproduce those flavours from basic ingredients in a kitchen. The duck idea came from a combination of Peking Duck I had in London’s Chinatown and my penchant for burnt barbeque, while the taste for kimchee came from a noodle stall in Osaka.
One of the teachers at school kindly picked up a copy of this month’s EnRoute Magazine for me. While the sled dog photo is the smallest one on the page, I am excited and proud to see it in print. Right now V. and I are thinking about showing our Havana photos together during the CONTACT 2011 festival, but we have a long way to go yet to see how they match up as a single coherent perspective that reflects our unique perspectives together in balance. After all, the key to life (and superb 5 spice duck) is to find the correct balance between the sweet, bitter, aromatic and sour flavours on a table – no sour and the sweet does not taste the same.