These days, I am more introspective and can even find meditation in the white noise ambience of bubbling cheese. I look at the simple things now, like cooking a dish for the first time and see it as therapeutic. This is why there has been a consistent stream of home cooking posts on my social networks. With all of the extra time at home, I suggest looking in the pantry and fridge and trying to cook something different, outside of your comfort zone or box. Use Google as a tool for recipe ideas by plugging in some main ingredients you have on hand and searching recipe ideas for them. If you don’t have all of the ingredients listed, research substitutions or decide whether certain things can be left out. This is a good restorative challenge to keep the mind working well, which can elevate the mood for the better. As well, it gives you something new and interesting to do, which can be very rejuvenating and satisfying.
For me, today’s therapy session was with a classic ragu bolognese lasagna with bechamel. With all of the cooking I do, it’s probably surprising to learn that I have never made a classic lasagna or traditional bechamel sauce. During this new culinary adventure, I found so many healing benefits along the way. I began with my mise en place, organizing and prepping out all of the ingredients. This was a nice way to exercise my brain to maintain cerebral sharpness. I started with the ragu bolognese, which included cooking ground pork with Italian spices like fennel and oregano, then adding 96/4 ground beef before making the sauce.
The end result was a delicious, deep in flavor, gratifying component to bring complexity to my layers. Then I started on a blonde roux to create a nuttiness for my bechamel sauce. Once, I added the milk, I lost myself in the meditative, whisking process and got back into my own head when it thickened enough for me to begin constructing the dish. It was a relaxation technique of repetitive layering, which included dipping the noodle, covering it with a blanket of bechamel, then bolognese followed by sliced mozzarella and repeat.
Throughout the process, I set good intentions which lead to a successful final product, both rich in taste and mental gratification. Reframing my normal daily experiences into positive, cognitive rehabilitation has helped me stay in a good place, so mangia mangia e buona salute.
New York Style Guide