One of the things that has always made me uncomfortable about cooking, doing the dishes, or other solitary activities is that I am left alone with my own thoughts. It is difficult to escape myself when I am doing something that requires silence.
I suppose cooking doesn’t require silence. I could talk on the phone or watch TV. But those things tend to distract me so that what I am making doesn’t come out nearly as tasty as when I am fully concentrating on creating delicious food.
The trick is to concentrate more.
When I can bring a stillness to the awareness, then cooking becomes like meditating. I taste each ingredient to find its flavor this time. I inhale and can tell how the ingredients are merging with each other. I look closely to see how much color it is taking on. I envision the harmonizing of each ingredient coming in at its own time, to create a symphony of flavors. It is an act of deepening connection to self and to the world.
Since starting my 30 day challenge to make sure all my food is 100% gluten free by cooking every meal from scratch at home, I have had this kind of awareness. Cooking has felt peaceful, energizing, and like I could do it all night. Even washing up has been more enjoyable, as I find myself remembering what I ate on each dish and having appreciation for how it has helped me be able to eat these lovely meals.
The last few days I have been obsessed with Star Trek: Voyager on Netflix’s instant streaming. Watching this while cooking isn’t exactly having the same effect.
I find that I am more tired. I just want to rush through cooking to get back to the show. It feels like a burden and it feels impossible that I will complete the challenge.
This is not what I want to choose.
Tonight I forced myself to not watch the show, go to the grocery store, and focus on cooking. A part of me felt “squirrely” – like it was squirming to get away from something scarey. But as I kept going, a that part unwound, relaxed. I got caught up in the cooking. At the end I still felt a bit anxious, but much better. And I had lovely delicious food to eat.
I made pesto from scratch (Emeril is my go to guy for anything rich – he always makes things so tasty! His tuna tetrazzini (casserole) is the best I have ever had in my life). I managed to find pre-packaged pine nuts. Apparently nothing from bulk can be considered gluten free. I didn’t want to do fresh garlic (it can bother me) but I was nervous about spices. However, Shauna of Gluten Free Girl is a celiac and endorses McCormick’s spices (and their website goes into great detail about how they keep their spices gluten free), so I got their garlic powder. I dumped the rest of the 0.97 cent package of mexican garlic powder.
I also made brown rice pasta. Well, I didn’t make it from scratch – I bought the box and threw it in the water with salt and olive oil. I wavered about this, but I figure the box promises it is gluten free and it only has one ingredient: brown rice. So its probably safe.
Pre-grated cheese can have things like cornstarch to stop them from sticking together, so I bought a wedge of whole parmesan and grated it myself. It had a funny smell at first and was way too strongly flavored, but after being out about 20 minutes it went away. Is this normal?
I also baked some portobello mushrooms. I’m trying to figure out what my staples will be and to keep the fridge stocked with them. I found organic portobellos on sale this weekend and got a bunch. I rubbed my very expensive olive oil into them, the sprinkled with salt and pepper. I put them in the oven at 350 for about 35 minutes. Oh my goodness they were tasty!
I tossed the pasta in the pesto, topped with the portobello, and sprinkled more parmesan over the top.
And I have enough for lunch tomorrow!