I’m currently making my way through Michael Pollan’s latest book, Cooked, as he explores the 4 basic elements (fire, water, air, earth) that humans utilize when cooking in order to nourish themselves. I find myself particularly inspired by something he says toward the end of the water section:
“…the opportunity to work with my hands – with all my senses, in fact – is always a welcome change of pace, whether in the kitchen or in the garden. There’s something about such work that seems to alter the experience of time, helps me to reoccupy the present tense. I don’t want you to get the idea it’s made a Buddhist of me, but in the kitchen, maybe a little bit. When stirring the pot, just stir the pot…. Unitasking.”
How very Ram Dass.
But it spoke to me because my head was still spinning from yesterday’s conference call where I was trying to talk about the importance of social media to engage (my work) community, only to be told several times that this or that was against policy, and that I couldn’t use images or connect with certain people and there’s this policy, etc. When I finally suggested that it would be more helpful to tell me what I could do, I got my own words spun back at me, but nothing more. Essentially, I was speaking to people who do not exist in our current social society.
Which made this Dilbert cartoon that a colleague had given me several years ago resonate even more – even though my name isn’t Beth, and the person who kept telling me everything was against policy is named Beth…
I decided to practice being present by baking, which is always good for my soul. I wanted to try a recipe for chocolate zucchini bread – as I’ve been intrigued by the combination since I found Clotilde and her blog, Chocolate & Zucchini. Just try to look at her site and not get sucked in for hours dreaming of future meals… But this recipe did not come from Clotilde but instead from (gasp) Better Homes & Gardens. Yet another sign that I’m becoming old.
And so I measured and chopped and shredded and mixed. Everything went according to plan (meaning, according to the recipe) and out of the oven came 3 gorgeous little loaves. And then I went to melt the chocolate to drizzle on top of the loaves. I was obviously no longer present, as I put chocolate in a pan, over high heat, and left the room.
I worked all afternoon to get the smell of burnt chocolate out of the house.
Inspired by the idea of going to Hudson Food Studio tonight, but then too lazy to go, I decided it had to be summer rolls for dinner.
I’ve decided the whole purpose of summer rolls is really just to serve as a conveyance for peanut sauce. Yum. There are a million recipes out there (I seem to have half of them on one of my Pinterest boards) but I used this recipe as a loose (very loose) guideline. I used tamari in my peanut sauce because that’s what I had, but I would suggest using a low sodium soy sauce instead. I thought I wouldn’t be able to find rice paper in our little town, but Olde Hudson has that as well as a number of other Asian cooking necessities. And you can find all the vegetables you need at the Hudson Farmers’ Market. Or, you could just go to Hudson Food Studio and have a tasty meal prepared by someone else.
I’m not sure that I’m feeling any more centered. I may have to try more baking tomorrow.