Student: Sensei, soup first or noodle first?
Master: First, observe the whole bowl.
Student: Yes, sir.
Master: Appreciate its gestalt. Savor the aromas. Jewels of fat glittering on the surface. Shinachiku roots shining. Seaweed slowly sinking. Spring onions floating. Concentrate on the three pork slices. They play the key role, but stay modestly hidden. First caress the surface with the chopstick tips.
Student: What for?
Master: To express affection.
Student: I see.
Master: Then poke the pork.
Student: Eat the pork first?
Master: No. Just touch it. Caress it with the chopstick tips. Gently pick it up and dip it into the soup on the right of the bowl. What's important here is to apologize to the pork by saying "See you soon.". Finally start eating, the noodle first. Oh, at this time, while slurping the noodles, look at the pork. Eye it affectionately.
(Tampopo, 1985, Juzo Itami)
A short, but probably one of the most memorable scene from my favorite food movie.
It tells something more essential than simply how to savor a bowl of ramen. On one watch, the ramen sensei might appears as a drama king with each step exaggerated into perfection. But I suppose, that's what it takes to remind us that every little thing is beautiful. We just easily overlook it.
I mean, aren't every one of us has a love for food? Or have we forgotten? That is the case when we have a lot of something, we tend to take it for granted.
It happened to me.
As I look at the same view everyday when I was in Sydney, I forgot that it is the same postcard-view that I dreamed of for years before finally arriving there. As we go and hang out with the same people again and again, as we eat everyday, we tend to lose the passion and the love that the ramen master has for ramen even though he has eaten hundreds or probably thousands of ramen bowl before.
It is a call for us to start looking around. Things & people that are close to us. What have we taken for granted? What have we forgotten?
Then, we should start seeing as they are supposed to be seen. Little things that are simply ... beautiful.
Food Photographer & Conversationalist