All-Day Carnitas, Rash: A Memoir, and Facing Fears

I have a thing with cooking recipes too far outside of my comfort zone. I'm really good at making pasta, and I make some damn good brownies. But put me in front of a recipe for bo ssam or macarons, and I'm like a goldfish in the ocean -- way out of my depth. That's why, when I first read through Samin Nosrat's Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, I was far too intimidated to try the braised pork. No way. Too scary. We'll have pizza tonight instead. (Again.)

Then I started reading Lisa Kusel's Rash: A Memoir, which is about packing your family up and moving to Bali so your husband can teach there. And the first thing that struck me about the story was that Kusel didn't even consider how brave it was for her to do this. She just did it. Period. Done. Sure, the doubt was there before and after the move, but it was doubt. It wasn't fear. Consider me schooled.

rash and pork tacos.jpg

Back to the cookbook I went. And then to the pork section of Mariano's, where I am usually only seen as I dash by with a cart trying to remember what kind of flour I need. First of all, pork shoulders are huge. HUGE. The fear was still real. This thing was the size of my torso (alright, almost). Second of all, they're cheap, which made it a little less scary. Even if I ruined everything, I could go spend $6 and get another one. Third of all, I got it home, took a deep breath, and pushed fear aside to spend my day making a beautiful batch of carnitas that turned into some knockout tacos

All of the sudden, pork is no big deal. Moving to Bali still is. So is dengue fever. For the official record.


Page & Plate Note: Lisa Kusel provided a copy of Rash: A Memoir to me for the purposes of this independently written review. The views expressed here are mine and mine alone.