There’s a very zen-like quality to cooking. Once the flames come on it’s very easy to slip out of the reality in which you’re otherwise confined and drop into the trance of chopping, stirring and tending.
70’s progressive rock blaring through the speakers seems the perfect soundtrack for Khatte Channe (tamarind chickpeas) and fried bindhi (okra). All the ingredients are prepared and arrayed in small bowls, ready to be dumped into the pot at the right moment. Frying onions can lead to nearly perfect focus, blocking out any other thoughts which might have been preoccupying you for the day. Are they done? Too dark? No. Add the garlic, the tumeric, the cayenne. Don’t forget to make the okra. Spoiled? A shame but c’est la vie. Green beans will do. Rice today? Not enough time, no need anyway.
The crashed server problems are gone. The lost data. The dirty car. The networking class you haven’t quite finished. The bills that really shouldn’t wait for the next paycheck. The previous month. The previous day. The history of the world stops at the boundary of the stove. History is written by the winners and you have your pen at the ready.
Some people escape to the woods. Some people meditate. Others push themselves to their physical limits. Yet others hide in the shadows of drugs and alcohol. We all have our bolt holes. Mine just tastes better than the others.