Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Just a quick note, on a day of rain and mist and flowers and birds pulling up worms. There's been a lot of talk about this being the twenty-fifth anniversary date of the Chernobyl disaster. Where were you when you heard?

I was in Lhasa staying at the Snowland Hotel. We had a little battery-operated short-wave radio and it was when listening to the BBC world service news that we heard about Chernobyl. It seemed unimaginable. And there was something about being huddled under quilts up on the "roof of the world" that made us feel far away from the dangers of Chernobyl.

We were wrong. No-one is far away from environmental dangers. As we watch the events unfold in Japan, we slowly come to realise that we're all in this together - what hurts you hurts me and hurts us all.

It's sobering, yes. But also a reminder that if we all have responsibility for each other, the other side is that we are not alone.

It's a good thought to warm ourselves with when catastrophes happen, or when we're feeling afraid.

And back at Chernobyl, the site has become a tourist destination. Hard to imagine. But then so is the concept of Auschwitz as a tourist site....

Meantime I've done another recipe count as I work my way through the draft of my Burma cookbook. I polish here, write a headnote there, rewrite and edit an introduction somewhere else. SO thrilling to be this far along. But as with a sewing project, or a carpentry project, the finishing takes an inordinate amount of time, and is less visible, than putting the basic structure in place. It's up to me to get all that tweeking and polishing right, with life and good energy, as well as good judgement and clarity.

Speaking of energy, it's hard to imagine the rigours of the campaign trail for the politicians out hustling here in Canada as we head into the final days of the election campaign. Amazing to see that the NDP is rocking the Conservatives. I am thrilled. But I'm not a good sports-fan, and nor am I a good political person: the suspense is awful, the idea of a Conservative victory is nauseating, and I have to admit to some deeply anti-democratic impulses when I think of Mr Harper and the Conservatives.

So here's hoping that the NDP win big, and that the Liberals also manage to unseat some Conservatives. I hope Elizabeth May and the Greens get some members elected too, and that the Bloc Quebecois is routed in most of Quebec.

Sorry for the local politics stuff, all of you who live elsewhere. But this is turning into a horserace, we hope, with a real chance to unseat the right wing destructive party that has been in minority government for what seems like ages. I voted on the weekend, at an early poll. And now we hear that turnout at the early polls has been very high. It's wonderful that people are voting and discussing and getting engaged.

Without proportional representation, elections in this fragmented multi-party country are always going to be frustrating. This one at least has turned interesting and energetic.



kerrdelune said...

So looking forward to your new book when it comes out, and I could not agree more with you on the political situation. It is time for a change.

Now I am off to the Kowloon Market to find toasted rice powder!

naomi said...

Toasted rice powder: not sure if you'll find it for sale. You can just take a cup or 2 of jasmine (non-sicky) white rice and toast it lightly in a heavy skillet...then use a processor or large mortar to reduce it to close to powder. It gives the soup a great toasted grain aroma. If you send me your email address privately, say as a twitter message, I can send you recipe instructions...

naomi said...

roasted rice powder not necessarily for sale in grocery stores...You can toast a cup or two of jasmine or other non-sticky rice and then process it or use a large mortar to reduce it to a coarse powder. keeps well of course in a jar.
If you'd like the recipe for the Kachin soup, now pretty well tested! please write to me.