The problem with cooking is that it is delicious and I keep eating

You grew up with this dish and have been looking forward to eating it for half a year now. You've not seen your wok for months. This had better be worth it.



  1. Stare at the bittergourd. Suffering exists. Ponder this reality for a while.
  2. Slice it thinly. This is probably also a metaphor for something, but you don't know what. You don't care. Slice. Slice. Careful with that knife.
  3. Absentmindedly lick your fingers when you're done; cringe at the taste. Yep, that's pretty bitter alright.
  4. Crack and beat the eggs. Can't make an omelette without … making a few wisecracks. Heh heh.
  5. Add seasoning and keep beating. Consider adding stronger alcohol. Realise that drinking doesn't fix anything. Also that would ruin the flavour.
  6. Shatter the fish into itty bitty pieces. Feel empathy for it. You were like this once. Still are. Put yourself back together.
  7. Examine the dessicated remains of the shrimp. Is that your fate? To shrivel under heat until one day you too are compact and bite-sized?
  8. Your mother always used to say that love is the most important ingredient — but lard is an acceptable substitute. Rummage around for some, then realise you have none left.
  9. Bring the wok up to temperature; add oil; fry up all the dried dead things until fragrant. And how fragrant they are! For them death is not the end.
  10. Add bittergourd slices; marvel at how they soften, lose water, and turn translucent. Is this, too, vaguely allegorical?
  11. … are they … are they weeping? … are you? … why?
  12. Allow to dry a little, then add eggs, still on high heat.
  13. Screw this, no omelette. Why bother? Mix everything. Scramble everything. Break everything up. Your spatula is a vengeful weapon of entropy.
  14. When eggs are set, plate. Notice how different it feels when your cutlery doesn't have a serifed “Y” on it.
  15. There's something serene about the gentle way steam rises from freshly cooked food. You realise that you don't understand convective turbulence. Maybe you should have taken a class on fluid dynamics.
  16. You are tempted to throw everything away, in a gesture of self-defeating ennui. All is meaningless! How does this matter in the grand scheme of things? Wrestle with yourself for 3 minutes.
  17. Succumb to your base desires and retrieve a fork and spoon. Remember that someone else used to do that for you. One day someone will again.
  18. You forgot to make rice to go with this. Fuck it, you're not that hungry anyway. You've not been very hungry since coming back, right? But suddenly you feel famished.
  19. Bring everything out to the dining table and tuck in. Pause mid-devour to make way for a realisation — this is really good! And not bitter at all.
  20. Not bitter at all.