St. Teresa of Ávila who lived in XVI century was a very unusual women. At the highpoint of European colonization and Luther’s reformation, this women was oscillating between several identities: she was a mystic, writer, reformer, and saint. Her biography is truly interesting, but voluminous, so I’ll skip all details – you can read about her online – and focus on a delicious detail, which I found while reading one of many books written about this famous lady:
The story about St. Teresa’s levitation was confirmed by many witnesses and it is the story that fascinated me most. One day, while she was floating in the church, Teresa has become hungry. She decided to go home to cook something. While she was in her kitchen preparing food, she started floating again. Although she was hungry she couldn’t get down, so she furiously kept floating over a pot with a boiling soup. Even if Teresa had qualities that made her sacred, she would have give them up for a full belly. Food is a crossroad where spirit meets nature.
Dreaming to fly is a phantasy I play with since my childhood. First I was a bird, than Aladdin, superwoman and currently a Tao-monk. But not only on my yoga mat I can sometimes feel a meditative lightness caused by balanced flow between the movement and breath. Those special moments also surprise me regularly in my kitchen, while carefully decorating a cake, kneading a bread with devotion or just waiting for water to boil… From my university teacher I have learned that fly and flight (escape) have the same etymology. So I can’t but ask myself, what does this childhood dream and my attachment to practice of meditation want to tell me? Do I only want to fly or simple… fly away?
St. Teresa was not only to me fascinating, but to many other persons. In 2009 Marina Abramovic, the most famous performance artist, inspired by lovely and important memories on her grandmother’s kitchen and the amusing story about St. Teresa’s levitation, made together with Italian photographer Marco Anelli a row of videos and photographs, taken in a former Spanisch orphanage and she called this project The Kitchen, Homage To Saint Therese: “My entire childhood was about going around the kitchen. The kitchen was the centre of my world. The kitchen was the place where I would tell my grandmother my dreams. The kitchen was the place where she would tell me stories, and the kitchen was the place where all the secrets were told. It was a kind of place where the spiritual world and the daily world met and mixed.”
Creamy Polenta with Roasted Brussel Sprouts
First prepare vegetables:
*I roasted these brussel sprouts in a sea buckthorn syrup I bought at the market place few days ago. It happened to be an amazing combination! If you are not able to find it, roast the brussels in honey, maple syrup, or try it with another fruit syrup- like apple syrup.
Ingredients (serves 2 persons):
300 g brussel sprouts
1 chilli pepper, finely chopped
1 dl sea buckthorn syrup (or honey, maple syrup, or try it with another fruit syrup)
1 tsp fine sea salt
pinch of black pepper
zest of 1 lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
2. Trim and halve the brussels sprouts, then place on a large baking tray. Add the lemon zest, chill pepper, sea buckthorn syrup, then sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Mix with your hands to coat.
3. Roast in the oven for 20- 30 minutes until the sprouts are tender.
While brussels are in oven, make polenta:
2 l water
150 g organic cornmeal
1 tsp. nutmeg
70 g grated parmesan (optional, but tasty)
- In one medium sized pot bring 2 l water to boil. Reduce the temperature to a simmer and carefully add the cornmeal while constantly stirring. Stir and stir until all lumps are gone (Add more water or more meal if necessary) and polenta reached a perfect creamy consistence. It takes about 30min.
- Serve it warm. Put a couple of spoons of polenta on the plate first and spread vegetables on the top. Garnish with some parmesan crumbles, squeeze some lemon juice and pour a bit native olive oil over it. Enjoy!