MY FAVORITE PEOPLE, MY FAVORITE RECIPES: ROBIN ASBELL
Star of book, blog, Bon Appetit and bowls, Robin Asbell can recipe develop like nobody’s business. Her eight cookbooks, including new Great Bowls of Food explore trends from juicing to whole grains, but for Asbell, it’s all about cooking and eating real food. This makes her sound entirely wholesome. I love her because she’s not. Robin couples a straight-shootin’ Minnesotan sensibility with a deliciously sly wit. She’s who I turn to when a recipe or a relationship goes south. She is, in other words, a true friend. She just happens to be an industry-savvy cookbook author, too. Only Robin can find the path to enlightenment with a belly-satisfying Buddha bowl. It’s perfect for Whole Grains Month.
I’ll probably never reach nirvana. I’ve never gone to a meditation retreat, or studied at the knee of a guru.
It seems to me that carving out moments to be mindful in everyday life is actually more attainable and practical. Just like your body needs physical exercise, your mind needs practice to get in shape. If you haven’t taken that meditation retreat yet, don’t just become a mental couch potato. Far better to resolve to grab moments when you can.
So in my everyday life, I look for opportunities to be mindful. My book, Great Bowls of Food, Grain Bowls, Buddha Bowls, Broth Bowls and More (Countryman Press) came out of years of practice at seeking mindfulness around food.
Too often, we rush through life with a racing mind, and eat mindlessly. It’s too easy to throw packaged food on a plate, or pick up take out, and eat it while watching television. I propose to you that you can carve out a moment to focus and be both present and peaceful while preparing simple bowl meals for yourself and your family.
You deserve this.
It helps to start by setting yourself up with an uncluttered kitchen. Take some deep breaths while you center your mind, wipe the counter, and let the worries of your working day fall away. Replace your racing thoughts with a gratitude exercise. Not everyone has a kitchen like this, or pots and pans. Remember that there are people with no running water, and how lucky you really are to live in a time and place where cooking dinner can be this easy.
If your mind wanders back to your worries, gently redirect it to being grateful. To the task at hand.
Get out your grain, and as you measure it and put on the pot of water to cook it, think about the farmer who planted the seeds, one by one. While the grain cooks, wash and chop your vegetables and assemble the sauce. Look at the foods on your cutting board and think about how many people worked to get them to you, from the farmers, to the truck drivers, to the workers who put it out on display.
Visualize them, the whole beautiful, dirty hardworking crowd of them, and thank them. This meal is suddenly a group effort, isn’t it?
Now you can honor all those people by celebrating this meal. Start layering and composing the bowls. See and feel color and texture and create a harmonious whole, then drizzle it with sauce.
The rest of the world is beyond our control, and that is ok. Just for this moment, we can control this bowl of food. We can bring all the fruits of all the labors that brought it here to a beautiful conclusion. We can choose to eat nourishing, whole foods, and be present in this moment.
Now, you’re more in touch with your food, and well-fed, and hopefully, feeling a little bit more grateful and focused. That was better than the drive-through, wasn’t it?