Michael Pollen goes into the kitchen to cook, and finds answers to pressing health, environmental, social– even spiritual– problems.
“…what is the most important thing an ordinary person can do to help reform the American food system, to make it healthier and more sustainable? Another related question is, how can people living in a highly specialized consumer economy reduce their sense of dependence and achieve a greater degree of self-sufficiency? … How, in our everyday lives, can we acquire a deeper understanding of the natural world and our species peculiar role in it? You can always go to the woods to confront such questions, but I discovered that even more interesting answers could be had by simply going into the kitchen.” ~Michael Pollen, Cooked
There is one thing missing from this quote, the thing you understand immediately when you read Cooked. Pollen finds answers in the kitchen because he explores cooking with great attention and care. He immerses himself in fermenting, cooking with fire and water and baking bread- its his mindfulness that connects him to the sacred, transforming aspect of cooking.
And the people he interviews, and who teach him to cook, also pay attention to the details-often with great passion.
What could we pay attention to? Our senses. To our hands stirring, kneading, cutting-to our hands kneading and the texture of the dough- to tasting the flavors melding in a soup or braise-give over to a creative act that is experienced.
Give in to the spell of the sensuous. Give your thoughts a rest.