I made pasta from scratch for some friends today, and remembered why I love to cook.
As I was kneading the dough, turning eggs and flour into a warm, stretchy ball, I thought about how many people had done this before me. I thought about my Nonna, about her Nonna before her, about all the hours of kneading dough accumulated in my DNA.
How many hours have human beings accumulated stretching dough with their hands?
How many meals have we kneaded?
How many satisfied bellies have we filled with the fruits of our labour?
Taking ingredients and spending your time and energy transforming them into something which brings joy into the world is one of the fundamental pleasures of being human.
I forget this sometimes.
Many of us get lost in our heads too often. It has become possible to live a completely online existence, separated from the most basic of physical enjoyments. Some of us work, order food, and do our shopping from a computer screen.
This is convenient, but not necessarily worthwhile.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot since starting to write with a fountain pen; there is a character which my handwriting possesses that my typed work will never have.
We take our hands for granted. They need practice to maintain their capacity to create, so don’t lose touch with them; work dough, work clay, work wood, work whatever it is they like to touch.
Just let them work something. It’s what they’re built for. Allow them to craft joy; for you, and for those you love.