Friday, June 27, 2008

It's love that is cooking

Since the food we prepare, touching it with our hands and our feelings, will go inside the bodies of our friends and loved ones, we should be aware that we are involved in a very delicate, subtle, yet powerful alchemical process. Cooking is not a secondary activity, something you do with one hand (while the other holds a cigarette), nor something you do with one eye (while the other is watching television). No. Cooking has to be recognized for what it is: a noble, loving, caring, alchemical activity, which can determine our physical, psychological and emotional health. Once you become aware of this, your attitude is bound to change. You realize how deeply you can heal (or poison) someone with your daily cooking. You see to the well-being of the people you are feeding, and accept that existence is all about nourishing the ones you love. You will be overwhelmed with gratitude and with the responsibility of such a blessing. And you will wish that you could nourish them better and better, for this will become your greatest joy in life, and you will not wish to spend a day without cooking for them.

And finally, after fifty years, I cannot keep the secret to myself any more. The greatest secret about the alchemical art of cooking is this: it's love that is cooking.

NOTE: This is from a wonderful book called Food is Home written by Sarjano who is from Italy. He was in charge of the kitchen at the Osho Ashram in Pune for over twenty years.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The beauty of doing nothing

This is a sweet expression. Bel far niente means "the beauty of doing nothing." Now listen--Italians have traditionally always been hard workers, especially those long-suffereing laborers known as braccianti (so called because they had nothing but the brute strength of their arms--braccie--to help them survive in this world). But even against that backdrop of hard work, bel far niente has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement. You don't necessarily need to be rich in order to experience this, either. There's another wonderful Italian expression: l'arte d'arrangiarsi--the art of making something out of nothing. The art of turning a few simple ingredients into a feast, or a few gathered friends into a festival. Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this, not only the rich.

From Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, published by Bloomsbury. Pg 64-65