about bliss

Sunday, March 26, 2006

eating zen

Last night I challenged myself to eat mindfully--that is, without music AND, most significantly, without reading. I sat, alone, with my bowl of food and concentrated on eating. Lucky me, I created a tofu-broccoli-carrot-ginger-garlic-stirfry (a reprise of dinner a few nights ago), and ate every last morsel using my polished bamboo chopsticks, which aided in my zen-like venture. Eating with new utensils entails learning to eat in another way, finding the rhythm of the meal change with the awkward slick and slip of the chopsticks. I’m improving!

I was inspired to use my lovely chopsticks (purchased at a boutique in Auburn that I dearly miss) last fall when I went to eat with M and S, who are both adept at using them (M having lived in Japan for a year, and S a devoted Buddhist). Now whenever I create a stirfry, out come my chopsticks, and each time I’m that much better at trapping vegetables and bits of rice and transporting them to my mouth. The rice remains a challenge, but it’s one that increases the pleasure of the meal, slows down the pace, and allows me to truly taste each bite.

As friends would tell you, I’m a silverware freak, using utensils to eat pizza (which seems almost prissy, I know). My rationale has to do with the heat of the pizza, and not wanting all the hot cheese and toppings to slide into my mouth at once. I like to prolong the pleasure of cheese in each bite. Now, when I’m home alone, I’ve been known to eat a bowl of steamed broccoli with my fingers, popping the delicious stalks into my mouth like sweet treats. So my silverware use depends on the food and the moment
Last week I shared dinner with an Irish bloke, and noted his distinct silverware usage, the fork held completely differently in the left hand, rather than in the right. How much we learn of cultures as we sup with one another!

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