Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Farro: Ancient Grain Salad and The Sound of Silence

 My day starts in a similar way to how it ends, I check on the people I love and let them know how much they are loved. Some days pass with a gentle exchange of I love you's and goodnights and good mornings, and others bring with them the opening of old wounds, or the unveiling of things in our character that need attention, or a new drama. 

I am given the opportunity to practice my discipline on these days. I challenge myself to avoid past behaviors and look to put to use what I preach. The first step is to be quiet and listen. Quiet is a space so many of us feel uncomfortable inhabiting, but oh how it can leave room for understanding, relating and simply creating a peaceful environment for the other person talking. We here another's problems and usually jump immediately into rescue mode, fix mode, pity mode. Thich Nhat Hanh once said, 

"All the wonders of life are already here. They’re calling you. If you can listen to them, you will be able to stop running. What you need, what we all need, is silence. Stop the noise in your mind in order for the wondrous sounds of life to be heard. Then you can begin to live your life authentically and deeply."

We all need this space, this breathing room that silence offers us to slow down the wheels of thought and learned behaviors, to instead sit and remove ourselves from the emotion attached to a story or event so that we might see it better. I often think about interactions or conversations like a many faceted cube. If I can sit for a moment I can take the words said and those not said and see all sides of the conversation like a three dimensional cube. When more than just one side of an event is seen then compassion can be practiced in the most difficult of situations. When silence and the breath are used then even listening can be a form of meditation. The compassion found in the silence of listening is the second step, having an open enough heart to hear and in turn feel compassion for another. 

It is with the authenticity of compassion that conversation can become liberating, space creating, eye opening, but only from a place of compassion achieved through true listening. We already really know what we are asking of others, and it isn't a solution or their pity,  it is simply that we are looking for support or compassion to gives us the strength to make difficult choices and decisions. All we need we already have. Those of us that would want to offer guidance are really only offering tools to use, but we each have to wield the tools ourselves we can't do it for someone else. 

These are the musings in my brain as I sort and rinse this powerful little whole grain called Farro, or Spelt. I don't eat much gluten, certainly never refined white flours, I am not celiac but am incredibly sensitive to flours that have been manipulated in anyway, if you are in tune to the vibration of your food you may begin to notice you are too!! Farro is the Italian term used to define one of three ancient grains, Einkorn, Emmer and Spelt. These grains originated in Mesopotamia and are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals and antioxidants,  making this grain a crucial component for  a mainly plant based diet. 

In the summer I run the gamut of room temp salads and I eat way less meat protein as my body seasonally craves lighter brighter more colorful foods of the season we are in rather than dense meat and starchy veggies. My kids will tell you I say, "eat a rainbow" or "make sure your plate looks like a rainbow of color"  and I mean it. I tend to make this salad as a main dish, not a side to another protein because it is complete in and of itself. After sorting the farro grains, ridding them of possible debris in their gathering, like stones or hardened soil put them to boil in water, 1 cup farro to 2 cups water with a pinch of salt. When the water begins to boil, cover and simmer for 20 min or until tender which will depend on whether you have bought husked or unhusked farro, so after ten minutes lift the lid and check to see if they taste nutty, not done, or springy, done. 

The full recipe is below, but I'll offer one last practice to use while cooking. Imagine that what you are doing is just as important and nourishing to yourself and others as a conversation or hug. The effort and care with which you curate and compose a meal brings that energy with it for the person who enjoys eating it.  

Fruited Farro

serves 2-3 as a main course

1 cup Farro
2 cups water
one plum chopped 
1 bunch arugula
1 bunch basil julienned
1 cup toasted and chopped pecans
1 Persian cucumber chopped
Balsamic glaze
salt and pepper 
zest of one lemon

Prepare farro as instructed above in the body of the text, set aside to cool to room temp
put in all other ingredients, toss with Evoo, balsamic, salt and pepper and lemon zest all to taste. You can add a dash of umami by using a little toasted and ground coriander as the "fifth" flavor.

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