W is for Wok: a tale from the first year of marriage

by Jeff Oaks

That first Christmas we were given a wok. Which required us to go on a hunt for wok oil. Which led us to fish sauce, three kinds of vinegar, ten kinds of soy sauce, and then walnut oil, sunflower oil, truffle oil, extinct rhinoceros oil, the tears of albino alligators, tiger claw oil, dwarf porpoise oil, left handed virgin oil, kink-tailed shark oil, and invisible swallow oil. We stood for an hour in the grocery store just counting the kind of beings we hadn’t realized could become oil, could be ground down, be rendered or imagined into ooze we could use to make our chicken taste like anything living or dead or possible. With broccoli of course. Or snow peas. We loved those. Or carrots sliced into lozenges, buttons, cuff links. Or peppers, some of which now come in bags and so resemble small orange and red voodoo dolls we dressed two in scraps of our clothes and wrapped them together tightly and buried them in a beautiful dark blue container in the back yard where they’ve begun to sprout hallelujah yes fruit out of which an oil can be made that when applied by lovers to lovers makes all other light and heat unnecessary.