The Peaceful Cuisine of Ryoya Takeshima
by Cecille Marcato
Music accompanies the cook,
a nearly tuneless tune without words.
He is blooming spices, grating
garlic; he is making
noodles with soy flour,
skipping some small steps
(or performing them off camera).
Slicing lotus root,
spinach, tiny mushrooms
(button and enoki)
with a variegated blade
(Damascus-style, a miniature sword).
With miso he is making a vegan broth.
You feel how long a tablespoon is
in the time it takes to pour from it
to the waiting bowl
in the quiet music.
Only one thing or two at a time
on the chopping-block table,
tools seen in plan view:
flaming hotplate, electric blender;
from Italy, a hand-cranked
machine for making pasta.
He is pouring umami broth
into a whitish bowl he made himself,
placing his scratch noodles on top
with a twist of the tongs.
The bowl’s interior is the blue
of a starling’s egg.
He is eating from it what he made
but you cannot see or hear him.
A brief lifetime has been lived
through a soup.
It went by so quickly.