Le canard

Look, so I made the duck confit that’s been sitting in my cupboard for almost a year now. (And someone asked me, when I told her, “do you mean the one that’s been in your cupboard for 10 years or so?” “No”, I answered, truthfully, “only a year. But it is in a can; that stuff lasts forever.”) Well I don’t know if forever is the entire truth, but it was certainly a fine thing when it hit the table this Saturday evening.

I admit I botched up the appearance somewhat (and dissenters of my cooking methods will argue that I didn’t use enough fat for the frying), but I think you can see that the result – however “messy” – was a mass of meat that was falling off the bone and tenderised by its long sleep in its own fat. It was quite splendid, and moreover kept up its act for sandwiches the next day.

Since then and now I have experienced something of a nostalgia. When things are not as they seem or how you would want them to be, I suppose it is natural to visit other pastures (and how the cliches flow at the slightest hint of morbidity!). And so it occurred to me that some three years ago I was living in Southeast Asia (Tainan City, Taiwan) for six months, and I had a view from a 10th storey apartment that looked like this:

It was an odd and solitary six months. But it was time well spent, and I forget, too often, to marvel at how I coped in such a foreign place.

The “nostalgia” bit should perhaps be a reminder that I need not marvel at “coping”. But the truth is that we get so locked into whatever life we’re leading at the moment that anything else seems inconceivable. So I think it is good to stop, now and then, and see yourself as the different person that you were. And remember that life goes on, no matter how different. And, quite frankly, often completely regardless of you and your “crises” of the day.

Obesity? Poverty? HIV? I think not. The biggest disservice that faces us now is self-indulgence.

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