I just purchased a new mortar and pestle..... and it makes me so happy!
I should have known it really would because its been in my mind to buy one for a long time....but for one reason and another I just haven't made the time to buy one before now. And that's mad because ordinarily I would have acted on a thought that continued to enter my head- because I think that's my soul guiding me through life! And listening to my soul, and allowing it to guide me, always leads me to happiness : )
I am by no means an expert cook, but I do enjoy making food from original ingredients- partly for health and partly for that simple purity of flavour. So with this new purchase I can create my own pastes, tapenades, spice blends- combinations of original flavour. And I think the aspect that gives me the greatest joy is the physical process of picking fresh herbs from the garden( or dried from the pantry ) and then the slow motions in the mortar and pestle- working them into a blend.....perhaps slowly adding some moisture or oil.....then using them to enhance the flavour of simple food. I find it really grounding.... no pun intended.
Thinking about why I am so happy with the mortar and pestle has given me a little more insight into myself.....
I think what I call "Simple Living" really works well for me. By this term I mean limiting the amount of appliances, gadgets, machines in my world. Getting back to basics.
Towards this end we grow lots of our own vegetables and fruit- not self sufficient by any means, but a great enhancement to our diets. It also regularly puts me in touch with the earth and her cycles. It gives me the chance to watch plants go to seed, spreading those seeds and watching the same plants regrow the next season. Watching our fruit trees and vines have good (and sometimes dissapointing) yeilds. Returning plant waste back to the earth via the compost heap. For me it's probably the "being in touch with the earth" aspect I like the most.
Cooking simply, but from basic ingredients rather than prepared sauces or flavourings, also appeals to me for that reason. And it gives me that sense of appreciation for the Farmer's efforts. In that vain I swap some therapy work for real free range eggs. It raises my sense of appreciation for the produce by directly working for it.
I try and limit my "footprint" on the earth by running only one car in the household. After 25 years of family life that way, we did inherit a second car- but old habits remain because there is still only one car in use at a time (and the trusty pushbike!) By habit and default we seem to have become environmentally aware. : )
We don't own a dishwasher or microwave oven- they are convenient for many folks I know, but it just feels like too much technology in my simple kitchen! ( I actually did a report about microwave ovens- their use, leakage and food impact- when I was at University in the early 1980's and I have never felt brave enough to own one since!) Nor do we have home airconditioning. Blankets are great to keep warm in the winter and we're lucky enough to live in a "Queenslander" with lots of windows to catch Summer breezes. Again I like to be in touch with the planet and I think less technology and more aknowledgement of the weather helps me do that.
I certinly buy new clothes, but I also do a lot of "Opshopping"- taking shop bought but no longer used clothes in for them to recycle. For me it feels like less waste.
I know technology and convenience in food and living are appealing, and I certainly enjoy the entertainment and comfort they provide on many levels. But for me sometimes they speed life up so much that it zooms by and I feel like I'm missing it. Taking a breath and living simply helps me keep my feet on the ground, and notice the life I am living.