Finding my Tempo Giusto-Part 1. Slow Food

As with many other people around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic brought my whirlwind life to a pause, and led me to re-examine my priorities in life. Sometimes deliberately, sometimes out of necessity, I began to embrace a slower pace of life. This is the first in a series that I plan to write about my attempts at finding the right rhythm of life. (In music Tempo Giusto means to play in exact time.)

In the fast-paced life that we lead today

There is no time to eat food the traditional way

Even for healthy snacks packaged options abound

Low calorie, low carbohydrate goods I see all around

Traditional Indian food is cooked the tedious way

I certainly don’t have those kind of hours in a day

To chop vegetables, pound spices, cook on a slow flame

So what if instant food does not taste the same

There are many ways to nourish my family, I believe

By sacrificing time on elaborate meals, nothing I would achieve

Except the need to cut corners elsewhere

There are only 24 hours in a day; I’m quite aware

**

So I used to think, eating out frequently

Was the way for me to preserve my sanity

Then COVID hit and out of the blue

Eating out became a necessary taboo

Even grocery shopping needed to be deliberate

With more time at home, I’m happy to state

I decided to go back to my roots in the kitchen

To cook meals from relative scratch, and then

The whole family chimed in, enticed by the aromatic milieu

We were reminded of what food was supposed to do-

To awaken all five senses, create a sense of well-being

Which was so crucial amid the devastation we were seeing

Dicing onions finely, pounding cloves of garlic

Adding flavorful herbs freshly picked

Simmering food over slow flame, mixing and stirring

As we cooked fresh food, a transformation was occurring

From fast food eaters (yes we ate “healthy” packaged stuff)

We became converts to slow food, a few weeks were enough

To teach us the merit of cooking food the way we were meant

To prepare it culturally, to provide a sense of fulfillment

Regarding time…we all understand how

We adjust our schedules to allow

Indulgence in what we like to do

That became true for cooking food too..

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