Saturday, September 3, 2016

Cooking From The Source with Lonely Planet

I like to cook. That hasn't always been the case but it has been in the past few years or so. I like the process of creation as it allows you to think about your ingredients, the flavours that go together, what to get, how to prepare it, and how it should be presented, what it should look like. But sometimes in the process of cooking with music from the radio in the background (I'm really hooked on 95.3 Smooth FM as my cooking music), it makes you reflect about the people you come across and the stories they tell you well before getting to the stage of simply having lunch or serving a dish at the table. Today I witnessed something quite extraordinary ... an extraordinary act of kindness.

I was at my local grocer called Joe's Quality Fruit and Vegetables, although the owner is not called Joe, he's actually called Jack. Jack was telling me about where he wants to take his business this time as well as his fresh fruit and vegetables he sources from the Sydney Markets and every time I go to pick up my grocery I do need to allow an additional half hour for chatting time which indeed I do not mind. As we were talking, a guy walked in the store and he stretched out his hand to Jack as if to shake it and said "Hello Jack, How are you today?" Jack said to him "I'm very well. How are you?" and said to him "I have mandarins for you today. Here, take 2 of these mandarins and gave him a bag and said to him," Here's a bag and you can put the peels in these." The guy took the mandarins and then walked out the door. I thought it was rather odd. Jack turned to me and said the guy is autistic and his parents shop at the grocer all the time. Jack told me he use to come and steal his fruits all the time and one day he caught him and said to him, "I don't want you to steal fruits from me anymore. Next time, if you come in my shop, and you say "Hello Jack, How are you?" I will give the fruits". Ever since then, the guy has walked in the store and said hello to Jack and Jack would give him his fruits. I smiled, my eyes almost welled in tears with a slight lump in my throat. What act of kindness have you seen?

A Saturday morning story I thought to share. Well, I ended making a very simple salami, fetta and tomato baked in the oven on flatbread for lunch using ingredients I got from his store and browsing the new releases of Lonely Planet's coloured recipe books From the Source: Japan and From the Source: Spain (RRP: $34.99ea) that Lonely Planet has sent to me for which I'm grateful for.


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