I had a long talk with my son tonight about his father’s impending divorce. Like an adult conversation, our topics varied, but they were all inner connected. We talked about how people make different choices, about the things his father was good at being a role-modle for, about the good things that might come from this change.
I think a lot about change. It is the one constant in our lives. In fact, it is our lives. In accepting another person into our lives, we often accept them as they are at that moment and leave no room for change. Or we reject them and leave no room for change. I find that to be against our very natures. There are a few people in this world who I hope will change, like his dad, but I cannot force it on him. There are a few people in the world whom I love to see change. Their evolving, resplendent, honey-brushed lives are like the pungent air after rain in the summer time.
Then my son said to me, “Mom, it will be like a whole new world for me.”
“Yes, sweetheart, it will be. But that is okay.” I answered. We sat in the chair, next to the fire and talked about how things are connected, about the Net of Indra, about the Spiderwoman who weaves the web of life. Finally, our conversion devolve (or evolved) into Operatic format where we sang to each other about his homework. Until he said, “Mom, you’re really not a good singer.”
I thought about change some more while he lay on the couch, reading. I wonder why his dad could not anticipate change, could not accept it. I wondered why JJ could not. I wondered why we, as a culture deny it so forcefully. Why do we never conceive of growing together? I thought about how we change to remake. About how we change to become. About how we change enough to return to the places that we were born. In that moment of allowing my son to experience change of his own accord, I gave birth again to the man he will become.
The proteins in food (like in meats, poultry and eggs) become firmer. This is why the liquid interior of an egg gets hard when you boil it, and why a well–donesteak is tougher than one cooked medium–rare.
Interestingly, other proteins, namely the collagens that make up cartilage and other connective tissues in meats, can be made to break down by heating them in certain ways, specifically through moist heat cooking methods. This is why tough cuts of meat like lamb shanks or oxtails can become so incredibly tender when braised slowly.
Cooking also causes proteins to lose moisture, typically via evaporation in the form of steam. This loss of moisture then causes protein-rich food to shrink, as we see with burgers that appear to deflate when cooked on the grill.
Sugars & Starches
Carbohydrates like sugars and starches are also transformed by heating. Sugars turn brown, as we see when we caramelize the tops of a crème brûlée. The browning of bread when we bake it is caused by the caramelization of the carbohydrates. Starches tend to act like sponges, soaking up water and expanding in size, as when pasta noodles expand when we cook them.
Fats & Fiber
Fats, such as butter and oils, liquefy, and eventually start to smoke when they get too hot. The fibers in vegetables and fruits soften and break down, which is why a cooked carrot is softer than a raw one.
Cooking can affect the color of foods, too. Green vegetables first brighten when cooked, but they eventually take on a drab olive hue if they’re cooked for too long.