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KUCHARUK: 2022 looms - what will the chef come up with next?

Goodbye 2021! Don’t let the swinging kitchen door hit you in the butt on the way out.
Cooking
If we look upon the past three years as a bizarre societal tasting menu, I would certainly equate 2020 as a cruel joke by the Sous Chef.

I am choosing to view 2022 as a metaphorical palate cleanser. I am not expecting much out of the year, with the exception of removing the dirty taste in my mouth from 2020 and 2021.

If we look upon the past three years as a bizarre societal tasting menu, I would certainly equate 2020 as a cruel joke by the Sous Chef: a delicious gelato where at first glance you see a luxuriously smooth textured cream that delights the eyes. The silver spoon hovers before scooping out a tiny taste. Your mind screams, “this is going to be the most delectable flavor!” but as the cool cream passes your taste buds your tongue screams “Abort! Abort Mission!” You spit it into your napkin and look around to see the reactions of those around you. The gelato is rotten.

The entirety of 2020 is spent vacillating between trying to defame the Sous Chef and convincing everyone that gelato can be delicious – they should try it! “It’s dairy free!”

But wait! You have another course that follows aka 2021. You rinse your mouth thoroughly with wine, swishing it around with your tongue before swallowing. Bring on the entrée! It cannot be as putrid as the gelato from early 2020…..right?

Your face is flushed with expectation and you sit back as the server places your entrée with a flourish. Eh Voila!

It looks normal. It looks tasty. You nudge the food around on your plate with trepidation. You lean towards your plate, sniffing: Um…..what? Is that cilantro? You recall clearly stating “NO CILANTRO”.

Your tablemates tell you, “Pick the cilantro out and just eat already”. But you know that even the slightest little bit of cilantro will ruin the taste of the entire dish.

Heartbroken and hungry, you lay your fork down, reach for another glass of wine and resign yourself to another disappointing year.

2022 looms on the horizon. What will the chef come up with next! There have been rumblings that the Chef has been experimenting with unique flavor combinations, but so far no one has been able to sneak into the kitchen and see the latest concoction. He has been disheartened that he has not been able to completely remove the taste of the putrid gelato from our mouths and is still receiving nasty letters regarding the cilantro.

Ahhhh……the Chef has a brilliant idea! 2022 could begin with a palate cleanser of sorts! An amuse bouche, a airy foam served in a large spoon with a mint garnish.

The server would temper expectations by telling the guest that the “foam should taste of nothing, but will serve to remove the taste of the putrid gelato and the awful cilantro”. The server leans over you with a tray filled with spoons, heaped with the airy foam. “You should eat it all in one bite”, they advise as one of the spoons are set on your plate.

You are wary, but you are intrigued. You and your tablemates reach down and simultaneously lift your spoons and take in the airy foam.

Your eyes light up and a broad smile envelops your face.

It is as if your mind has been washed clean and your taste buds have been reset. You no longer recall the putrid gelato, nor the lingering taste of the cilantro. You taste hope and promise!

Goodbye 2021! Don’t let the swinging kitchen door hit you in the butt on the way out.