14 October 09

Meditation with a knife

I had a crappy day. I was grumpy, on the verge of tears, tired, hungry, and torn between just curling up in a ball and staring at the wall and feeling like I had to do something, accomplish something get something done. And then I remembered there was a three pound wild boar shoulder roast thawing in the refrigerator. I had grand plans to make it Monday night after I went to the Gapers Block book club, but that didnt’ happen. And yesterday I was at work even later than I was tonight, so that didn’t happen so tonight I decided “Dammit! This WILL make me happy!”

So even though Andrew prodded me to eat something, and gave me a hug, and did his best to make me feel better, I insisted I was fine, ushered him out of the kitchen, and set to cleaning up from last night’s Bacon Jam fest (more to come on that!) and got my personal prep station ready.

It took a while, and if I’d been in a hurry, I would have been annoyed, but I carefully trimmed the boar shoulder of all fat and silver skin. I cut it into even-ish pieces. I seared them over medium high heat in just a touch of oil oil. I chopped a large Spanish onion the long way. I chopped a fennel bulb, which just isn’t easy. I sauteed those in the pan drippings and waited for them to just start to caramelize. Then I added half a head of garlic and then a glass of white wine (cause I didn’t have red open). I deglazed the pan to remove the fond, I hand crushed 2 large cans of the reddest, ripest, most aromatic canned tomatoes I’ve ever smelled (Go Certo!). I strirred in some dried basil, marjoram, salt, and pepper.

And by the time I was done and was wiping down my prep tools and the counter and watching the large pot full of rich tomato sauce simmer, I realized something. I did feel better. I didn’t feel great. I didn’t even feel friendly. But I did feel better. I had accomplished something.

And that’s when I realized that cooking is a meditation for me. The repetitive chopping, shredding, stirring, tasting. It’s all meditation. I was focused on the task in my hands, not on why my day was a mess. I was focused, but in a relaxed way, and I was letting my body work at a comfortable pace with no awareness of what was going on outside myself and my actions. (Except for making sure that Rocky The Impossible Kitten didn’t make it into the pile of meat scraps on the cutting board, that is.)

So whether it was the feeling that I did something, made something, took unusuable, unedible items and turned them into what smells like an amazing sauce for tomorrow night’s dinner, or whether it was just the doing and the relaxation and the focus, I’m not sure. But the end result is that I’m happier than I was at 7pm. And that is a good thing.


  1. That is why my husband does most of our cooking – it is a stress reliever for him. While it is for me on the weekends, no such way during the work week. And I’m all about stress reducing, so there you go. :)

    Rachel on Oct 15, 05:46 am

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