The Chef and The Chemist

If you were to hold a heart over a flame, in time, it would become a charcoal fist. Then, you could crumble it into a fine dust that blackens your palm, or, you could throw it to the wall and watch it shatter. But let’s argue, for the sake of this discussion, that over the right fire, and under the right guidance, a heart could melt instead. 

The wrong fire would be yellow-orange, sometimes red; a sort of dirty, incomplete, by-any-means flame– the one known for its bonfires and wildfires, the kind without scales or scrutiny, the type to blow up in your face, to singe the wheat while purging the weeds. 

The right fire would be blue, barely visible for being so clean and capable. You wouldn’t need to put the heart over this one’s heat forever. Soon enough, it would give itself up. In the right hands, it’d become a heart again, like a wine glass remains a few billion grains of sand.

I suppose the correct expression would be ‘to cook’ the heart. The world has it so that there are two kinds of cooks. There’s the chef, of course, and then, perhaps less obviously, there’s the chemist. 

Not everything cooked is for eating, yet, the chef would disagree. He visits the butchers with nothing else in mind. Accompanying him is a conclusion– ‘everything is food to someone’. He doesn’t distress himself with details of morality, of what part of the body is offensive to taste. Those sorts of inquisitions are misguided at best. When he points to the heart behind the protective glass, he has every intention of getting it devoured.

On the other side of things, the chemist enters the butchers. It would seem he doesn’t care about the heart he’s come to see about. He definitely doesn’t want to eat it, so he must desire to play with it in some white, sterile, passionless place. Perhaps he’s only cold and curious, but that’s not right. He’s a highly intentional man, remarkably resolute. Today, the day he arrives at the butchers, is not a day for experiments. The chemist knows he’s going to melt the heart, and he knows what it will be when he is done with it. 

While the chef makes a few pitstops for some additional ingredients, the chemist goes straight to the lab. He puts the heart in a beaker, and places it atop a blue bunsen flame. The chef decides to light the barbecue. Both begin to sear the mound of flesh. In the lab, the chemist controls the smoke. The fumes repulse him, but it’s a smell that charms the chef; a white pillar ascends from his garden. The heart cooks on, unable to stand it in either place. Then, soon enough, the chemist kills the heat, and holds up his container of liquid. He pours it into a mould, and takes it someplace cold. 

The chef wipes sweat from his brow. He goes inside for something to drink. When he returns for the heart, he finds it has burnt in his absence. The lid of the grill opens to reveal a charcoal fist hardening in a sea of orange flames. His dog barks from the house. He uses his spatula to kick the spoiled meat to the ground. Then, he calls for his westie.

(image cred: Coreens-art)

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