Cover Photo: illustration of a young woman with long black hair sitting on a red sofa in a white bathrobe, holding a spoon in one hand and a bowl of vegetable tuna curry with rice in the other
Illustration by Sirin Thada for Catapult

Feed Yourself Like Someone You Love: A Recipe for Summer Vegetable Tuna Curry

The trick to a good nostalgic curry rice is to finish it with honey. Just a drizzle at first.

This is Half Recipes, a narrative recipe column by Nina Coomes on what it means to feed and care for yourself and those you love.


- two ears of corn

- four tomatoes

- one large eggplant

- one can of tuna in water, drained

- hot, fresh white rice, enough for you and whoever you are feeding

- other optional summer vegetables: zucchini or summer squash, sliced into coins; sliced okra; handfuls of greens that wilt easily, like spinach or Swiss chard


When I returned home to the city, I was hungry. I have always hated this about myself, the way I always seem to need three square meals even in times of duress. I feel it would be more elegant or simply more convenient to lose my appetite, to prioritize my emotions over a meal. But my stomach is insistent. My body always insists on being fed. That night, feeling unsure and afraid, I wanted something to eat with a bowl and a spoon, something warm and solid to fill my mouth my throat my belly. I needed a meal that required no effort and wouldn’t need my watchfulness at the stove, something I could leave alone while I stood in a scalding shower, trying to become soaked enough to feel solid again.

When I came back to my big orange pot, the gently simmering curry inside was savory, ready to eat. I couldn’t be bothered with the kitchen table; instead I sat on the couch in my bathrobe, spooning it into my mouth, my hair still wet. Slowly, I felt myself drifting back into the balls of my feet, occupying my body again. I felt the beginnings of determination or at least endurance, looking at the many dangers the world presented for a body like mine and taking a deep breath, fueling my flesh, ready for whatever was next.

You’re amazing. You just made yourself this gorgeous meal in less than thirty minutes.


Nina Li Coomes is a Japanese and American writer, currently living in Chicago, IL. Her writing has appeared in EATER, The  Collapsar, and  RHINO Poetry among other places. Her debut chapbook haircut poems was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2017.