I'm finally, finally reading One Hundred Years of Solitude. It's taking me a bit to effort to get in to it, not because of anything to do with the book, but because the public transportation around here has been a little too crowded for reading. Based on what little I've read, I suspect it's going to be every bit as good as you'd hope a Nobel prize-winning novel would be.
The little bit early on about alchemy made me laugh, in part because (and how's this for an over-stretched segue?), I use that term to describe cooking and often have similarly unexceptional results. Cooking combines various fluids, solids, and magical spices along with copious amounts of heat and timing and produces things which seem, to the layman, like a very unlikely result. It's as close to magic as any activity I'm aware of.
I am the fortunate to share a kitchen with a woman who can improvise soups on the fly. Soup making is probably the most alchemical* form of cooking. When you cook a steak, you start with beef and you end with beef. If you did it right, it's much tastier beef, but it's not exactly a mysterious process. Soups, on the hard, along with sauces, and all manner of soup-like dishes (gumbo, I'm looking at you), require a leap of faith, a trust that what ever comes out of the cauldron will be greater than what you put in to it. It's not quite gold from lead, but I'm not sure it's anything less magical.
This is all a long way of saying that we dined on homemade tortilla soup tonight and will be doing so the next several evenings. I'm not sure what I did to deserve this, but I need to make certain I keep doing it.
* Yes, it's a word. I had to look it up to be sure.