Chop wood, carry water, stem chipotles, seed anchos

If you’re looking for a mindfulness exercise, I recommend working with dried chili peppers.

Food preparation is the closest I come to meditative exercise anyway. Preparing the chiles means removing the stems and seeds manually, which requires attention to detail. It’s absorbing and keeps me in the moment. And if I lose my mindful presence with the task, I’ll inevitably touch my eye or nose or some tender spot with a hand covered in dust and seeds from very hot peppers. This is as good as a Zen monk hitting me in the face with a stick. Instantly, I am back in the moment.

Mindfulness, focus, attention, process, an absence of distraction, and finally: chili paste. So even if I am not a step closer to enlightenment, the next few dinners are greatly improved.

7 thoughts on “Chop wood, carry water, stem chipotles, seed anchos

  1. Having prepared a large batch of hot salsa at the restaurant I was working at, I once tried to pick up a 100oz tin of jalapeno juice with wet rubber gloves. The tin slipped out of my grip landed on the edge of the table, tipped into me and spilled its contents in a pattern exactly drenching my, uh ‘tender spot’.
    15 seconds later, I was naked in the staff bathroom, scrubbing fast and very mindful of the experience.


  2. I know exactly what you mean: cooking for me is as much the meditative (or social, actually) process, as it is the end result. I do not like to do efficient cookery. This is a problem for cooking during the school year…


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