So The Fabulous Jonathan and I recently got ourselves a Slow-Cooker. I spent Monday, one of my two days off from work, doing some research and planning and shopping for ingredients for a slow-cooker Chilli recipe.
Also sometime Monday, I discovered that the Facebook Group the Society For The Protection and Promotion of Polytheism had posted a fabulous picture of fire, and a delightful quote of unknown attribution.
‘I remember one time a guy at school overheard me reading about the Gods and saw an entry about Hestia. This guy asked me, “What is Hestia?” I still remember saying, “The thing I love about fire is that it is prevalent in all religions. The reason why it is in every religion is because it symbolizes the human soul, our ability to know and do what is right in times of conflict. Fire brings warmth and light; it unites people and allows them to be gracious and joyful. Fire represents a universal truth, older than any religion on Earth and that truth is compassion, selflessness and generosity. That is Hestia.”’ ~author unknown
This post struck me quite close to the heart. I was recently asked by Reverend Kathy to start a team of folks to help provide kitchen and culinary skill and know-how for groups and events at 1U Orlando. Then too, Hospitality is a value very dear to my heart and entwined with my everyday life.
So when I woke up Tuesday morning, after some coffee, I lit the tea-light candle in the Soapstone Oil Warmer that I use as a simple altar to Hestia, sitting on the kitchen windowsill. Then I started to worship Her in the simplest and most ancient of ways. I began to cook. I prepared some chilli for myself and my beloved, and thought of ways to share what culinary gifts I have with my family and friends and community.
I trimmed the beef Chuck roast, and cubed it. I browned the meat. As I was prepping some of the ingredients I engaged in my ongoing fantasy of being a cooking show host. I diced an onion and a green bell pepper, thinking about my neglected knife skills as I did so. My classes at the Orlando Le Cordon Bleu focused mainly on Restaurant and Hospitality Management with only a couple of basic and broad-strokes Culinary classes… my knife skills are not the sharpest. But I can get the job done… It would be such a shame if people didn’t do something because they didn’t think they were good enough at it even if it is their first time…
“The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good”
It wasn’t so much words, as the sense that this classic aphorism was blazing forth from my sub-conscious… the right idea at the right time… strongly nudged along by the act of worshipful cookery.
I found myself thinking about how often in life we can hesitate to do or make something because we want it to turn out just right.
I remember a conversation with my friend RavenMoon about how people will stop drawing because they think they are not any good because they can’t draw a realistic face or something, even though we cannot improve without practice, and even though it is the act of creating that is so nourishing to the mind and soul… who cares if you can’t draw a realistic face… neither did Picasso or Dali!
So I finished mixing the ingredients, fresh and canned, and set them to a slow sensual simmer in the slow-cooker for the next several hours of my workday.
Then, of course, I found myself with the dilemma that even as the chilli was in the slow-cooker, I was really craving some chilli right now! So I spent some time thinking about patience and gratification and self-control.
So often we hesitate to give ourselves over to creative processes because we want an instant fix of because we can’t do something “right” the first time… but I truly believe that when we ware giving ourselves over to an act of creation, that we begin to more closely relate to the powers which created our Universe, to the Holy Powers of Creation.
So now I am writing, stumbling and humbly, about creativity and touching the face of Creation. I am planning my next meal, and my next batch of Chilli….
What do you do to touch the World Soul? What art or skill nurtures and nourishes your mind and spirit and relationship with the fabulously holy cosmos of ours?
PS- as an added bonus…
The Evolving Chili Recipe for Pax’s Texas Style Slow-Cooker Chilli
At least 1 and 1/2 lbs of Beef Chuck Roast
1 – 12oz bag of dried Kidney Beans
2 cans diced tomatoes
(or dice em fresh, but I’ve got a tiny kitchen and limited free time)
2 cans beans in Chilli sauce (not canned pre-made chilli, but beans in a chilli sauce)
1 large Onion
1 large Bell pepper
1 packet Chilli Seasoning
(eventually I’d like to make my own mix of spices and herbs, but with a tiny Kitchen, the mixes while higher in salt that making your own, are a blessing)
The night before wash, rinse, and boil the dried Kidney Beans and soak overnight.
The next day take your Beef and cut it into bite sized pieces, fry in a pan to brown the outsides. Drain the liquid and put the meat in the crock.
Dice your Onion and Pepper and into the crock with them as well.
Open the cans of tomatoes, drain them, and put them in.
Open and add the canned beans in Chilli sauce.
Add the Kidney beans and a cup or two of the soaking liquid.
Add Chilli Seasoning.
Set slow-cooker for your required time, I prefer a low and slow approach especially since I am doing this before heading to work.
Hours later, enjoy with some shredded cheddar, sour cream, and Corn Bread !