Since Monday, I’ve begun ritualizing the process of making breakfast.
I’ve never been great in the kitchen, though I love watching people cook. I can sit for hours, watching the deft ballet involved in culinary creation: the chopping, the peeling, the coring, the whisking, the blanching, the boiling, the frying and the grilling…
I love watching the looks on people’s faces too when they cook: the absorption, the concentration, the equanimity, the intensity, the delight and the rapture.
So why, then, haven’t I made an effort to learn how to cook well?
It’s two things: a stubborn attachment to convenience exacerbated by appallingly tolerant taste buds.
In short, I’ll eat just about anything in just about any condition and combination as long as the result saves me time and effort. (For instance, I’ve cooked and eaten scrambled eggs in tortilla wraps simply because eggs and wraps were all I had in my fridge at the time.)
This week though, because of some compulsion that materialized from out of absolutely nowhere, it occurred to me that it would be nice to put some thought and care in preparing breakfast.
So I started getting up twenty minutes earlier in the mornings. Just enough time for slicing garlic and onions and frying them in sequence (rather than together). Just enough time for picking spinach leaves off their stalks and blanching them (rather than tossing the whole lot in raw). Just enough time for beating eggs into a froth (rather than settling for a soupy mix). Just enough time for cutting up squares of cottage cheese (rather than settling for a dollop of yoghurt). And just enough time for carefully heaping all the fillings into the omelette, and even more carefully folding everything in (rather than settling for the much easier to cook scrambled eggs).
Just enough time, in short, to stop having to economize on time all the time.
And it’s funny, really, because the result doesn’t taste all that different from the rushed versions I used to produce. I mean, yes, there is a difference, but I don’t know if it’s enough to warrant all the extra time and effort.
But one thing is for sure: the absorption, the concentration, the equanimity, the intensity, the delight and the rapture that I mentioned a few paragraphs ago are exactly what I experience when I make the extra time and effort.
Even if it’s just to cook something as humble as a spinach and cheese omelette.
I have to say: it’s all rather worth it.