I am hardly one who knows her way around the kitchen but last December, I learnt to churn out an edible version of Devil's curry, a dish fondly loved in the Eurasian circle. Known also as Curry Debal in Kristang, the language of the Portuguese Eurasians, the dish is often served one or two days after Christmas using leftovers from the Christmas meal. Other than the thrill of learning to master a dish with such lovely environmentally-friendly roots, learning the intricacies of each step involved in making this exotic dish was simply fascinating. From learning to remove the seeds of the dried chilli (so that the curry will not be too mind-blowing hotter than it already is), to figuring out when the curry is ready (if it sticks to the back of the cooking spoon), and grasping the epiphany that one adds in vegetable stock cube only at the end (so that I can see how tasty the dish already is and hence how much of the cube to add to let it display its prowess). Amidst the blurriness stemming from my clumsiness in the kitchen, I suddenly felt so empowered -- it was almost as if while trying to master Devil's Curry, I had simultaneously mastered several other dishes.
It was then that I realised I finally got around to figure out what Irish novelist and poet James Joyce already did a century ago when he said his famous quote:
When asked why he always wrote about Dublin, Ireland where he was born, James Joyce said “...because if I can get to the heart of Dublin, I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal." When you master one thing really really well, you may already have the cosmos under your belt.