I had curried wild rice with onions and golden raisins today, and I realized that its flavors and textures are a time machine. It took me back to a time, almost a year ago, when my cat Patrick had lymphoma and I had to bring him in to the vet clinic every Monday afternoon for chemotherapy.
Making this rice dish again reminded me of one particular Monday, sunny and blithefully breezy as if no cats ever got cancer and the world was as fresh and lovely as the first days in Eden. Being told Patrick's chemo would be done in a couple of hours, I decided to rush back home all the way across town with barely enough time to cook curried wild rice with onions and golden raisins and wolf it down (vague impression of chewy savoriness zipping over my tastebuds on its way to my stomach) before having to head back there to bring Patrick home again.
Patrick and I used to enjoy certain late April and early May afternoons brimming with such weather: together in our chair enjoying a peaceful, cozy moment, watching the sun drench the neighborhood as it dipped toward the horizon, the bright wind racing through the neighbors' backyards like rambunctious colts, unhindered, spirited, wild and free.
Although the curried wild rice's savoriness now has a bittersweet tang, its flavor will always bring me back to that bright sunny windy day, when there was still hope because he was still alive, when there was no compelling reason yet to yield to despair, when the wind had not yet dropped away to silence and stillness and the sun had not yet dimmed and vanished into a fathomless night.