Hands are the workhorses of our life, we couldn’t cook without them. They contain so much, give so much, know so much. A good cook uses her/his hands. The hands become trained musicians. They relay the inner life of the food to the cook, as well as carry on all the mundane tasks of the kitchen. If you want to be a cook, start training your hands, thanking them and paying attention to all that they do for you and others.
I’ve looked at a few, sigh, food blogs. There are some wonderful ones out there, and wow the work involved, but in my personal discernment process, coming to a clarity about what this blog is for, and what I’m wanting to share with you.I can’t get sidetracked by all the beautiful food pictures and yummy recipes.
Where are the hands who made this food I keep wondering?
I know, they were holding a camera, and they only have two hands! But, my thought of hands brought me back to the food wisdom for this Wednesday.
Knowledge is contained in your hands
They know how to do so much without your conscious effort. I was teaching a 14 year old boy how to chop an onion the other day. I had to break it down for him--angle of knife, pressure, rhythm. The shape of onion and taking advantage of its flat surface when cut in half. I watched as what for me is fluid and natural, was for him awkward and slow. Ah, I thought my hands have chopped thousands of onions, they know.
They feel texture, firmness, rot...everything that’s important to know as you are deciding what to leave in or take out. They also feel emotionally, the fuzz of a peach, slickness of oil, sticky batter, firm dough...a thousand and one memories, sensations, experiences are stored in your hands.
Hands think on their feet
They make lightning quick decisions based on sharpness, heat, weight, and the stability of objects. They can multitask, or at least keep many tasks in concert.
Hands are wise
They know how to break bread, share, and bring people together at the table. They throw out, collect, harvest, wash, break, roll out, shape….They reach out and gather others into a big embrace of nourishment.
Hands are playful and passionate
They play in the water while washing dishes, run fingers through dry beans, fondle summer fruits, lovingly roll out biscuit dough. They get gooey, sticky, oily, floury, wet....They are the lovers of life, connecting, digging in, unafraid to express themselves through the mediums of food and kitchen.
Hands are the home to microbial communities
This is both good and bad. We all know the bad, we can get sick and make others sick if we don’t wash our hands well before cooking. The good is a healthy community of beneficial living organisms on your hands, who help to strengthen your immune system among other things. So wash your hands well, but stop the antibacterial soaps!
Hands are spiritual
They express energy, chi, they pray,and hold others in care. They move the energies of the food itself, as it transforms from produce to finished dish. Your energy, beautiful or toxic flows right out of your hands and into your food. Think about that the next time you eat at a restaurant! How were the cooks feeling about life today? Think about that for a moment before you cook in a resentful mood, it matters what you feed others and yourself. This is why food is blessed with the hands before eating all over the world.
Hands are a miracle
If you’ve ever suffered an injury of your hands you will know just what I mean. Hands make food, hands cook. Right now. Please take a moment to imagine all of the loving hands, across the globe making food, simple meals to feed families. Think of the hands, young and old bringing the food to their mouths. Blessed are the hands that feed us.
Thank you, and I shake your hands.
Hi I'm Sido Maroon,