Last night I was reading New York Times' article "What to Cook this Week," and I came across this delicious looking beef stew with whole grain mustard. Clicking the link took me to the recipe and a reference to the recipe having been promoted in those dark days in 2001 just after September 11th. The original recipe was part of an article by Regina Schrambling "When the Path to Serenity Wends Past the Stove" about how she had felt an inexplicable urge to cook and bake in the aftermath of 9/11. She talks about the slowness of the process -- no aspect of this kind of cooking can be rushed. She talks about the physicality of the process and how it engages her senses and fires up her endorphins, and she talks about the psychological impact as well:
But the psychological impact is even more obvious. When you're all finished, you have something to show for the time and effort: a loaf of bread, a batch of cookies, a pot of stew. On Thursday, those three hours of putting one step after another led to a kind of serenity, the feeling that no matter what was happening outside my kitchen, I had complete control over one dish, in one copper pot, on one burner.
Knitters know this same feeling, and it's no coincidence that interest in knitting took a sharp uptick after September 11th. People turned to knitting because, like cooking, it's an activity that engages the senses and offers a comforting, repetitive, meditative physicality - and equally importantly, a tangible end product that's completely under our control. That dark day was 16 years ago, but we still struggle with upsetting news on many fronts -- devastating storms flooding Texas and Florida, nuclear weapons in North Korea, and more. We need our knitting now more than ever. We need our knitting to help us focus, and be mindful, and find a calm space in the eye of whatever storm is upsetting us.
If you would like a little guidance getting started with knitting as a mindful practice, join us 28 September for an interactive workshop on mindfulness in your knitting. I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here.