.Sunday’s workshop – cooking with the swedes in New York.

25 May

“Remember, remember the 5th of November, the gunpowder treason and plot.

I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.”

In these words the protagonist V in the movie V for Vendetta introduces the massive blow-up of Houses of parliament in London, whereby my favorite part of the movie begins. Accompanied by nobby classical music and pictures of massive explosions, the poem continuously  describes reasons why to not forget that day, wistfully but proudly describing how a seed grew to a tree with the sky as its limit, how a small   As an imaginary successful counterpart to Guy Fawkes, V succeeds in bringing down the totalitarian government and brings upon change and democracy to the country and society in whole. It’s the start of something new. It’s the start of a future brighter than the sun itself. With the help of a few people V created a movement spreading ideas  intangible for the inhuman regime. Evil succumbs to reality when proactive resistance shows the way.

Even though this is change taken to the extreme, I came to think of this poem while holding my workshop on Sunday. My day to remember is the 2nd of December.For that one day I was enacting the proactive role of V. It was the day when I blew up the barrier separating my present from my future. With the help of a few people I managed to destroy a wall that was both physical and mental and allow myself to enter a bright future ahead of me. It was the start of having the possibility of doing the thing  I love the most in life; teaching(and learning from) cooking to other young people.

Yes. December 2nd last year is a day to remember. It was the day of one of my first workshops on this side of the Atlantic, and, in retrospect, I realize it was the beginning of something new, something greater than I ever could imagine.That very day a few Swedish friends and I had decided to do a workshop. We gathered at 9-ish at my friend Sara’s apartment in midtown. I had developed a south-east asian menu what fitted perfectly in our healthy team. The food came out amazing and I learned a lot, both about teaching itself and the recipes. I recall that while we were eating I started to think. Think about the people around me. They were all swedes.

Living in New York by yourself can sometimes be pretty lonely, but luckily you know that there is a certain group of people that are always there for you, no matter what happens: the Swedes. When I first moved to New York I was very certain that I did not want to hang out with swedes; I wanted to see the world… Why move if you are going to hang out with the same people as you do at home, I thought. But as my inner and outer journey in New York proceeded, I realized it was inevitable. The Swedish community in New York is big, but clearly divided into different age and interest sections, and has some kind of irresistible gravity to it. After a while I drew the conclusion that it was a cultural thing, or at least for me. We share the same values and growing up our parents have roughly nurtured the same cultural values and hence we are related. When you live abroad, this becomes more obvious than ever before. Even though we like to deny that we miss Sweden, I think we sub-consciously miss it a lot and that this is expressed in our need to hang out with each other. Our community becomes the part of home that we miss.   We create a small imaginary country within the borders of real a country.

Anyway, on Sunday I had a workshop for the same group again. We made the  recipes that I have been doing for a while now; curried and spiced indian yellow brown rice, mango/avocado/cilantro red cabbage slaw with toasted sesame seeds and soy-citrus rice vinaigrette, Punjabi vegetable curry with sesame-seared shrimp, gino and a watermelon/ginger/green apple/ mint drink. The food was amazing as always, and so was the company. Of all the workshops I have, these are the most memorable ones. It’s a time to catch up on things, to talk bullshit and just to hang out.

We were all involved in all dishes and when we sat in the table and the crispy rice, meaty curry and fresh salad blended in my mouth, I looked around me. The food was lovely, but the company was unforgettable. Time had passed so quickly. Last time we cooked together was an awfully cold snowy day in December and now it was a typically New York humid day in the end of May. Not only had the weather altered radically, also I have. I have learned so much from this year; above all how much a seemingly small action can have massive impact in the long run. After that workshop in the rough windy night in December, things changed. Radically.

Today I have workshops every weekend and I am involved in projects that I never could imagine.  Did I blow up the houses of parliament? Did I replace totalitarian ideas with democracy? No. But by setting up that workshop in December, by being proactive and actually making things happen in stead of just talking, and by resistance to those who wish you nothing but failure, I opened the door to the successful future I now find myself being a part of.


A great idea is nothing if not realized.

” …Remember, remember the 2nd of December…”


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