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The Risotto Road to Enlightenment

(post, John Dryzga)

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Last night, a funny thing crossed my mind while I was making a risotto, nothing.  I was so enrapt by the process, that I must have went a good 10-15 minutes without the usual mental chatter.  It was just add stock, stir, add stock, stir.  I was completely living in the moment like a Zen master, until E entered the kitchen and interupted my reverie.

This got me thinking about the meditive properties of cooking.  So many of the usual tasks of cooking are repetitive and require your full attention.  When you really look at it how different is prepping vegtables from the Zen meditation practice of zazen.  Instead of foucing you mind by sitting still and counting breaths, you focusing your mind on slicing and dicing.  When you are dicing an onion, you world collapses to job at hand, the only sound you hear is the snick of the knife slicing through the onion and hitting the board.  It's nearly magical that this simple task can hold the chaos of the world beyond the kitchen is at bay, at least for a while.

While "What is the sound of one hand whisking" will probably not be made an official Zen koan anytime soon, the forced mindfulness of cooking may bring us closer to inner peace.  It certainly helps me.  And, you get to eat your path to elightenment.