A Simpler in the Kitchen

Purslane, a garden simple

Usually, I'm a simpler. A simpler uses one herb at a time. In most of my lifeways, I am a simpler as well. When I make music, take photos, cook.

I'm not a multi-tasker, though I will take on many tasks all at once. I'll take my toothbrush into the closet. As I pick out clothes, I notice I'm not brushing. I'll put the kettle on and put away dishes as the toast burns.

Jared can have four burners going on the stovetop and an array of spices on the counter, each on its way to one pan or another, or perhaps all of them but in different quantities. Me? Chicken with salt and a sprinkle of rosemary. An array of steamed vegetables with… salt. I might be exaggerating, but only a bit.

I recently put mindfulness into a pot of soup I made for an ill friend and her partner. It's one of my favorite soups from a recipe I found back when we lived in Queens and used Fresh Direct to buy our groceries. Butternut squash, broth, onions, garlic. I left out the pear and replaced the heavy cream with coconut milk. I forgot about the thyme, and added fennel instead. A touch of salt to bring out the flavor, of course.

I thought of belly soothing foods, nutritious, and gentle for someone who's body is under duress, I looked in the fridge for what I had, and I put them into the pot. When my mind drifted, I reattuned myself to the soup and my task.

I have made this soup dozens of times, and sometimes it has been tasty, other times bland. This time, it was infused with such a sweetness and gentleness. I was surprised. I'm used to adding and adjusting, filling in the lack of flavor. It was perfect. Simple and mindful.