Zen and the Art of Making Meatballs

Zen Shrooms
Zen Shrooms

You see, I had this whole breathy post written full of New Year re-evaluations and re-assessing and it was all about no waste and saving money, and wittering about coming back to my original proposition and blah, blah.  That piece didn’t get posted up due to general technical incompetence on my part, which is just as well because then I started making meatballs.  And I found something a lot more inspiring right there, in a humble white mushroom (no, not that type of mushroom, it was from Tesco, purleeze!)  I found what I think might be called “zen”. Or something not far off.

Weird huh?  I started watching myself slicing the mushroom, slowed down my chopping and focussed on what I was doing.  The way the knife moved in a subtle arc, the bounce of light from the window on the blade, the slight resistance of the ‘shroom, the texture of the blade against the scrunchy whiteness.  And then I started being mindful about every movement that was required in the dish that I was making.  And I subtly changed things, I minced the onion more finely, I made much smaller, daintier meatballs.  I looked more closely at the quantities and balance of seasoning and herbs and flavours.  I reached up to cupboards with thoughtfulness and deliberation and, dare I suggest, some grace in my movements? In the end, I used only half of the beef mince I had intended or would normally use and my sauce had a few more vegetables than normal.  None of this took longer than usual, nor was it more fiddly.  Somehow, though, it was more satisfying for me.  Oh, it did taste better too.

Maybe what I found was that if you are going to cook something, even if it is a boring weekly regular like bog-standard Bolognese, you might as well get into it rather than trying to do it on auto-pilot or throw it together in the big mad rush of “I know what I’m doing now get out of my way you pesky items in the fridge that are concealing the cheese I know is in there and thwarting me, you deliberate fridge conspiracy, in getting on with dinner“.  I’m exaggerating but I guess you all know what I am talking about–the sheer “grrr” of it all sometimes.

I don’t meant to suggest that my life or my blog now embraces banal domesticity, or that I willingly cede to a yoke I have spent much of my adult years avoiding, but for 2012, I want much less of that grrr and much more zen in my meatballs.  Happy New Year!

2 Comments »

  1. “The way the knife moved in a subtle arc, the bounce of light from the window on the blade, the slight resistance of the ‘shroom, the texture of the blade against the scrunchy whiteness.” very poetic!

    You know what, I actually reach that stage of zen when I cook sometimes. It’s especially when I’m feeling stressed by school, and then I decide to lose myself in the kitchen. It’s therapeutic. Nice to hear I’m not alone!

  2. love your attitude to cooking, if your going to do it you might as well do it right!

    Hope you come back with some more blog posts soon as im missing the inspiration!