01 November 2012

Cornbread and Thinking

Thoughts on a thirty-minute lunch, drafted during such.  I’ll provide the recipe first so if that’s all you’re here for, you can have your bread and skip the pontification.  I’m debating whether to mention black beans in the title of this recipe.  Depending on your audience, you may want to omit it for bean-phobes.  There’s no need to worry about the beans’ indigestibility because they are obliterated in a blender or food processor before incorporation in the rest of the product.

Molasses Caraway Buckwheat Black Bean Cornbread

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
1 teaspoon vinegar (I used rice)

1/2 cup sticky rice flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
3 tablespoons molasses
1 cup coconut water (or tap water is fine; I just had some coconut water sitting around that neither my aunt nor I wanted to drink)

3/4 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Put the coconut oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place skillet in the oven.

In a blender or food processor, combine the non-dairy milk and vinegar and set aside (no need to turn on the machine).  In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  In the machine of your choice, blitz the non-dairy milk mixture with the beans and the rest of the wet ingredients until the beans have been obliterated.  Pour the wet on top of the dry, stir, and fold in the raisins.  Take the pan out of the oven and transfer the batter to the pan.  Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the top has cracked, it passes the toothpick test, and it springs back to the touch.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before serving.  Remove the bread from the pan when it’s cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.

The Thirty-Minute Lunch, Revisited

The thesis: “We”—office workers, rat race members—teach ourselves to denigrate the body by allotting a mere thirty minutes for lunch.  

Not providing sufficient time for chewing sends ourselves the message that the basic function of refueling is “not worth our time.”  I’m not the first person to point this out and I’m certainly not the last.  Generally, giving a short amount of time to something doesn’t allow for quality, either (unless you’re trained to make short events/products/acts of quality—ex., sprinters).  Since the body needs about twenty minutes to register fullness, why don't we double the lunch break, and for ease of calculation, make lunch 45 minutes to an hour?  That way we can not only eat and feel full naturally, but we might also take a ten minute constitutional around the block, noticing the weather, the architecture, the trees (or what little greenery survives in the city), the people.

I've heard it a few times in homilies sermons at Arlington Metaphysical Chapel: one way to improve both our and others' quality of life is to notice each other, to acknowledge the divine within all of us (that's what "namaste" means).

The harsh breakdown:

You are what and how you eat.
You are rushed energy when you eat too quickly.

The body cannot break down and utilize as efficiently unchewed food since digestion begins in the mouth.  Taking in this rushed, blocky energy produces rushed, blocky bodies.

Do yourself—and by extension, everyone with whom you come in contact—a favour
                and give yourself the gift of time to enjoy your nutriment.  You can do this!  You can try it right now, in fact.  It's something you can practice; it's not a skill you need to climb to the highest mountains or swim the lowest depths to obtain.  Cultivation is how awareness grows.

We all have the ability to practice enjoyment.  Simply reviewing and noticing how your five senses (smell, sight, taste, touch, hearing, in case you forgot) take in the food you’re eating makes a solid start to practicing mindfulness of eating.

Does it take a hurricane to make us notice the world around us?  As I sat in front of the window beading on Tuesday, I noticed how high up the third floor is, and since the window was level with the tops of the trees lining the streets, my room is my treehouse.  The wet, black trees against the grey sky made me think that that contrast is how woodcuts come to be so evocative.  I thought Hurricane Sandy was a divine message to put down the shiny devices and associate with our fellow humans.

Thus ends my public service message.  I tried not to choke as I unmindfully scribbled this in my notebook during lunch.  From lunch alone, I know that my current job is not what I am meant to be doing since it conflicts with my values and priorities (good health and nutrition being part of the “awareness” part of my personal code of ethics, CAKE).

Seem like I make the same complaints over and over again?  It's a spiral path, folks...
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