Edamame and repetition
Edamame (pronounced eh-dah-mah-meh) is edible green soya bean. It's mao dou (hairy bean) in Chinese. My father used to eat it as an appetiser before the main meal.
I never thought it was anything special until I saw it at Wagamama's. It costs an arm and a leg in Japanese restaurants. But it's so simple to make. You just boil it for two to three minutes. You can even steam it. Then you sprinkle generous amounts of salt over it.
You use your hands and squeeze the two soya beans from the green mangetout-like shell. It's addictive. It's repetitive. Pretty soon you'd have consumed a hundred of these things.
We often forget that some of the best things in life are simple and repetitive. When we eat edamame, for instance, we can forget about the act of eating. It's like eating moules mariniere in Belgium. It's repetitive but not tiring.
For someone who thrives on novelty and diversity, I am terrified of boredom. I've often assumed that repetition breeds boredom. Yet I continue to practise the same passages over and over again on the piano until I can perform them with control and certainty.
Repetition doesn't mean boredom. Repetition frees you of having to make conscious decisions. Routine gives you continuity and certainty.
I had an overdose of home cooking the first half of this year, not from the dislike of it but from having to dream up a variety of meals. Perhaps I should create menus that can be repeated, just like edamame. Then I wouldn't have to strain my imagination in the culinary department.
12 August 2004 Thursday