Relish — an edible and emotional dish

Sometimes, all it takes is a one-word prompt to get us writing. Today’s Daily Post writing prompt: RELISH

FIRST, there is the thing itself. It sits there in a bottle. Reddish. Semi-liquid, a state intermediate between runny and a solid… like a paste but not quite there because paste stays put when you upend the bottle. Relish does not. If flows, sort-of, and sluggishly.

No matter what state of matter relish is, it’s yummy. That bottle of the stuff in the photo — my partner made that. She’s got one of those Fowler-Vaccola home preserving kits. They’ve been around a long time and down the decades must have produced tens of thousands of assorted home preserves for Australian families.

Every so often she lifts the thing from the cupboard where it spends most of its time in storage in semi-darkness, thought that is not a requirement, and turns our tiny kitchen into a type of bio-lab where fruit is cut up, cooked, bottled and placed in the big preserving drum for some more heating. Then it’s stowed in the cupboard for months. If it is like the tomato relish you see in the photo it ends up being eaten with pasta and vegetables. And, yes, it is better than the industrially produced and often imported stuff from the supermarket.

That’s relish-the-food, the product of my partner who proves that it is possible to alternate life between online support, community education and food hacking.

Relish of a different sort

Now, let’s play with words and say that when it comes out of the cupboard and ends up poured over pasta, I relish that relish.

This other relish is to do with tasty and visceral experience. Unlike the objective, hard physical existence of the relish-as-food, this is an entirely subjective type of relish as it has no physical form. It is completely experiential, psychological and, even, emotional.

Emotional? Yes, to relish something, even tomato relish, is an emotional experience as it is enjoyed (or not). It is all in your head.

Eating relish is not the only way to relish something. You can relish all kinds of experience, even feelings — emotions, that is.

So, food or experience, relish is one of those things we could do with more of. While the physical, food relish is reduced in quantity with use, the experiential, emotional relish increases with use, providing we seek out opportunities for it to flourish. Let’s start.

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