Last night, I conquered a kitchen fear. Risotto.
Not from a box (organic, delicious!), but from my own hands.
I grated cheese, I weighed grains of rice. I minced onion, and I pressed garlic. I warmed broth. I stirred.
I stirred, and I stirred.
In the stirring, in the preparation, I focused. I took solace, comfort, delight in the constant motion of the stirring; I enjoyed watching the transformation from soupy, to absorbed, and back again. I contemplated the process, the slow process, of dedicating my time and patience to turn simple ingredients into still simple, yet delicious, whole and wholesome food.
Throughout the process, I was all there.
For the past several months, together with two quite fantastic ladies, I have been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Reading, devouring, working through. Challenging each other, ourselves. Becoming someone different, if only bit by bit.
In one of the earlier chapters of the book, a main theme that jumped out at the three of us, that we spent much time discussing both then and since, was wherever you are, be all there.
Over the past weeks, this phrase has popped into my head time after time.
At a concert with Terry, seeing one of my favorite bands, as I was thinking about the next day’s to-do’s, I had to remind myself: be all here.
In school, where I’ve adopted the once-abhorred habit of texting and checking Facebook when I’m bored during class, I’ve had to remind myself: be all here.
When I’m with loved ones, when I’m cleaning, when I’m soaking in the sun or fighting the bitter cold, when I’m focused on things ahead or things already past, the reminder: be all here.
Last night, there was no necessary reminder. In fact, I was partly through the cooking process, and thoroughly enjoying myself, when I realized it: I’m all here.
It was lovely.
The risotto, my first attempt, it was imperfect perfection. My rice still had a “bite” to it; it never occurred to me to check. My seasonings were a bit off. I ate it, I savored it, probably more than I should have, definitely more than I ever enjoyed that boxed risotto, with its flavor-powder-packet, and stir-less simmering.