Ben Huber’s challenge this week is to think of Opposites. My first thoughts were of oppositions as in standing apart but then thinking about how i would express it in photographic frames, most of the photographs that I had in mind seem to be complementary rather than stand apart. Contrast rather opposition.
It made me think of the old lines ‘opposites attract’ but it also made me think of an off-handed remark someone once made: if put an attractive thing and a repulsive unattractive thing next to each other, it would increase the quality of both.
My foodie response to the challenge is ‘hawaijar and fresh u-morok’ or fermented soya bean and fresh chilies of the species locally known as u-morok (some refer to it in English as king chilly, ghost pepper, or know it as bhut jolokia, etc.). Crush the chilies and mix them with the beans and add some salt and you have a side dish that makes most Meiteis drool over.
As ingredients they stand in opposition – the freshness of the chilies retained by being frozen while the soya bean has been soaked,cooked in slow heat and fermented for about five days and has been ‘freshly’ unpacked. It made me think of the binary opposition of Levi-Strauss ‘The Raw and the Cooked’.
The opposition is not just of the ingredients but also of the taste and smell. As a lady once described to me – ‘let the u-morok chilies and the hawaijar war one another’ (u-morok ka hawaijar ga kaonahanlo)!
Be warned, those chilies look damn attractive but they are fiery.