How a Chocolate Chip Cookie Led Me to Watch “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai”

“Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” is an eclectic and brooding piece of cinema, starring Forrest Whitaker, which chronicles the trials of a mafia hit man. (See a short clip here)  I had heard of the film but never watched it, and if it hadn’t been for a magnificent (dare I say “killer”) chocolate chip cookie, I would have missed out on the experience.

I was in San Diego, on vacation, sampling the local cuisine.  I steered our rental car up a steep and winding hill into the thriving hipster neighborhood of Hillcrest, and my wife pointed out a bustling little strip mall.  We ate Mexican seafood and drank craft sodas.  The world ambled by while I smacked my lips on a divine Baja style taco.

We walked out, full and smiling, only to realize that a cookie bakery stood right next door.  We exchanged guilty grins and ducked into the bakery.  The scent of cinnamon, chocolate, and baking sugar dough wafted over us.  I started hand-picking the cookies from my side of the glass deli-style counter–white chocolate with macadamia nuts, dark chocolate with walnuts and M & M’s, peanut butter chocolate chip, and chocolate chips with oatmeal.  The girl behind the counter started boxing up the cookies.  While she worked, I drifted over to the waiting area.  On a square table lay a stack of magazines.  I grabbed one.  It particularly caught my eye because the RZA was on the cover.  The Wu Tang legend posed coolly behind dark shades.  I flipped through the article and gave a low whistle of appreciation.

The RZA: Musician, Producer, Actor, Director

“You can take that home,” assured the cookie girl.

“Nice,” was my only reply.  I walked out with the RZA and my box full of chocolate chip cookies.

Back at the hotel, I munched happily on a scrumptious peanut butter chocolate chip.  It was sweet and velvety.  I read the RZA’s profile while I ate.  Every so often, I had to brush cookie crumbs off the slick magazine pages.   And there it was–his reflections on Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai.  The RZA had composed the original music for it.

“The secret of creative success is completion,” the RZA stated.  Hooked on that, I swallowed a chunk of cookie and vowed to watch the movie.

Arriving at home a few days later, I hunted deep through the DirecTV menu guide in search of the movie.  I found it, and watched spellbound, head bopping to the RZA’s driving, hip-hop grooves.

In all honesty, the movie left a lot to be desired.  It just seemed such an eclectic mashup of blaxploitation, foreign cinema, and a good ol’ boys Italian mob flick.  I wasn’t sure where I stood after absorbing the film’s climatic gun battle.  (No spoilers!)  One thing was for certain, though, if it wasn’t the love and lure of chocolate, I would’ve missed out on a pleasant evening spent indulging in yet another of the RZA creative completions.

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