This morning I made my son pancakes for breakfast. I really did not have time to do this. I woke up later than usual, I hadn’t showered, and I had to drop him off at school, and get to work.
My son had asked for pancakes a few days ago, and when I said that I was going to cook something else, his disappointment was palpable.
So there I was mixing batter and buttering a hot grill. Out of guilt? Maybe. But it was more for the moment I saw his eyes widen in delight when he realized what I was doing.
And although I knew the minutes were flying by, and we were off schedule, I became absorbed in watching the pancakes bubble and rise and flipping them at just the right time.
What I like about cooking is that I can totally immerse myself in the activity, but I don’t lose myself. I have to be conscious and mindful of all of my actions. Otherwise things burn or are undercooked. Salt is missing. Good cooking is intentional, guided by experience, and the current situation.
A basic definition of Zen is that it is a Japanese school of Buddhism that values meditation, intuition, and living in the present.
If this is true, then cooking is my Zen.