When I am cooking with large spices, bay leaf or tamarind, I have to sift the stew or curry through a sieve.  Out come chunks of curry paste and debris, hard stems and shell, like rain gutters after a storm.  Left is thick but smooth broth, silky and sedate, no hidden landmines for the teeth or senses.

Washing out the colander, I imagine what a day would be like, if I could drain out the excess and save the good, retaining only the parts I wished to lay claim to, watching the difficult, confusing events and exchanges slide away down the disposal.  Maybe all women are like this, and the ones that are good with a sieve standout.  Grace Kelly would be a fine soufflé, fluffy but firm, and I would be poorly made Hollandaise sauce, chunky with pools of hot egg and coagulated butter.  The thought that practice makes perfect helps.  I also read that Grace Kelly slept around a lot—that helps, too.


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