It’s no great surprise that I love pasta. But what I love the most about making pasta from scratch is what it can do for you physiologically, psychologically and energetically. Even philosophically. What we yearn for may be simpler than we realise. And carving out time to make your own pasta may be the answer.
Hands submerge in flour, massaging soft dough. The rhythmic movement of your body as you knead. Fold, push, turn. Fold, push, turn. Fold, push, turn. Your breath falls into a rhythm. A space unfolds. Time stops still.
Rolling your own pasta is the ultimate culinary act of presence. Each step requires attention, care and deliberate action. A complex pasta shape forces you to take your time and repeat hundreds of folds and twists (especially if you are feeding a tribe). Trance-inducing hypnotic repetition. It’s just you and the flour.
Handmade pasta is possessive of your time. Of your full attention. And this contract between you and the moment is truly transformational. You create by breathing life into the once shapeless form. You are its maker and it is your creation.
Pasta is also artistic.
In a class recently, someone turned to me smiling and said that making tortellini was like doing ‘arts and crafts.’ Yes, what a beautiful description of an activity that we once enjoyed as children. A time when we were playful, tactile and process-orientated, rather than obsessed with the outcome. Why don’t we allow ourselves this play as adults?
Instead of playing, we find a myriad of ways to escape. Searching for a buzz that makes us feel alive, to avoid the pervasive numbness of adult life. We fill our lives to capacity, so full to the brim that we can barely catch our breath. But at least we’re busy right?
At least we’re doing as much as possible. Making the most of every shred of time.
But is doing more really more?
What if we actually stripped back?
In a world where electric gadgets, thermomixers and instant meals reign supreme, it’s no wonder ‘from scratch’ cooking feels like a novelty. How interesting that something our ancestors potentially found a chore is a special experience for us today.
We’re losing our essence. At a rapid rate. And whilst I admit to having a leaning towards ‘golden age thinking’ - I know this feeling of loss isn’t peculiar to me. After a few years of running pasta classes I’ve heard students' very authentic promises to carve out more time to create with family, children, partners. To continue the experience beyond the class.
Our bodies are craving the tactile, the sensory. Our minds are yearning for presence and slower reactivity. Our hearts are bursting at the seams for any shred of joy we can give it.
So I give myself pasta. And pasta gives me a whole lot more in return.
Photo by Sarah Lynch Photography