Recently, I’ve developed a love of making risotto. And while a piping hot dish of creamy, aromatic, flavor-loaded Arborio rice never fails to delight my senses; this is not what’s been enticing me to stir up a pot of it just about every week. The allure is the experience.
Making good risotto requires 2 things.
The first is being organized. For smooth sailing in the kitchen, all the risotto ingredients and accompanying dishes should be prepped as much as possible before cooking the rice. This emphasis on mis en place is due to the next essential step: 25-30 minutes of committed attention. One must constantly stir the pot while gradually adding stock in order to effectively massage the starch out of the rice. This is what makes a risotto creamy and well textured.
For me, those 25-plus minutes are meditative. I cannot get distracted by or multitask with other projects. I need to be one with the rice, and, as a result, I always feel centered, organized (because I did the prep work!), and calm. Making this delicious dish also reminds me of something very important: the powerful discipline of maintaining singular focus – of truly being present and doing just one thing at a time, in order to do it as well as possible.
Multitasking can have its place and sometimes be an invaluable skill. At the same time, however, it can diminish the quality of our work and our ability to listen skillfully to our self and others. And modern technology, while incredible in so many ways, hasn’t had the most nurturing affect on most people’s attention spans. How easy is it for your concentration to be diffused by email, social media feeds, news headline tickers, and text messages? How often does it take twice as long to do something as a result? Do you lose yourself to your iPhone, even amongst your friends or family?
This brings us to the challenge of the day. Today, we invite you to be more conscious of your multitasking. When is it to your advantage and when is it not? When you are eating, are you also browsing the Internet and almost unaware of your food, for example? Or, are you mindful? When does your thoughts wander off in conversation with your family members or friends? Observe how your focus waivers. What distracts you and pulls you off track? What keeps you present? Give yourself permission to unplug a little more than usual. Even watch yourself on the mat during your yoga practice! What brings you home to yourself? What distracts you?
We’ll be unpacking this idea more over the next few days, so stay posted! Oh – and I totally recommend making some risotto!
Feel free to share your thoughts here, too.
by Sophie Slater