Weekend Meditation: Summertime Bolognese

It's mid-July and I've got a pot of all-day Bolognese sauce blurbing away on the stove, steaming up the windows and filling the house with a rich meaty scent. While citizens of the Bay Area will immediately understand this, the rest of you are probably wondering if I've gone crazy. But you see, it's 53 degrees and cloudy in Berkeley right now and even though my internal summertime clock says to slice up the first of the fresh tomatoes and fire up the grill, my body is saying Bolognese. Especially my ice cube toes tucked into their wooly slippers.

The meal tonight is also in honor of a friend who is coming to visit for a long weekend. She's a omnivore who has been living and working in a remote hot springs that has a strict vegetarian policy. A large hunk of meat such as a steak or even a roast chicken might be too big of a leap, so we're starting off nice and simple with the Bolognese. Still, we cannot resist a nod to the season, so we toss together a salad using greens bought that morning from the farmers' market, punctuated with summer flowers and a dressing that uses a lemon from the tree out back.

We can have ideas about what summer should look like and feel like, but then there's the unescapable reality, the bare truth of 53 degrees and cloudy skies and ice cube toes. Life is basically an ever-changing stream of causes and conditions, most of them quite unpredictable and out of our control. (The weather is a classic example of this.) The tricky part is to stand in the middle of it all and respond with grace and composure and presence or even, if possible, to celebrate.

Eventually the sun will return and the winds will shift and Berkeley will warm up a bit. When that happens we will slice up platters of tomatoes and sausages cooked on the grill and slurp up thick slices of watermellon, basking in the warmth and glory of it all. Until then, I'll just enjoy our Bolognese dinner which is really quite good (I used this recipe, more or less), pulling on another layer of woolies and snuggling in for a good long chat.

Related: Weekend Meditation: The Shared World

(Image: Dana Velden)

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Summer, Weekend Meditation

Dana Velden has just finished writing her first book: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Meditations and Recipes from a Mindful Cook which is based on her Weekend Meditation posts from The Kitchn. (Rodale Press, Fall, 2015) She lives in Oakland, CA.