But many, many years later I begin to feel - maybe I am missing out on something. I wonder if I would be allowed back in his kitchen.....
It was baking that Tarte au Pommes that did it (see 27 March). It took hours. But I was absorbed in what I was doing and quite enjoying myself. Having all the right ingredients and equipment was part of the pleasure. And what else would I have been doing with that time?
In 'The Simple Living Guide' Janet Luhrs talks about how cooking is a very sensual activity 'stop, taste, feel, smell, see...experience every delicious moment...hmmm. a little of this, a little of that, taste, taste, stir, stir.' With a glass of wine in my hand, some good music and just enough of a challenge to keep me interested, I can imagine doing this now and then, just for pleasure. Ideally in the evening, preparing something to be eaten next day, so no pressure of time or of hungry people waiting for it to appear.
John Thorne, cookery writer says 'To live, after all, is to experience things' and explains that if we are mindful about what we are doing, if we are there, then we actually gain 'lived time'.
He talks of a generation who consider time spent in the kitchen wasted time. 'to live, after all, is to experience things, and every time we cook an onion, lower the flame under a simmering pot, shape the idea and substance of a meal, we actually gain rather than lose lived time. Such minutes are not only full and rich in themselves, but they brush a lasting patina of lived experience into our memory.'
What a beautiful description of mindfulness! I love the expression 'lived time' - after all, what other kind of time would you want? Unlived time?