The Chickpea and the Cook
A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot
where it’s being boiled.
“Why are you doing this to me?”
The cook knocks him down with the ladle.
“Don’t you try to jump out.
You think I’m torturing you.
I’m giving you flavor,
so you can mix with spices and rice
and be the lovely vitality of a human being.
“Remember when you drank rain in the garden.
That was for this.”
Grace first. Sexual pleasure,
then a boiling new life begins,
and the Friend has something good to eat.
Eventually the chickpea
will say to the cook,
“Boil me some more.
Hit me with the skimming spoon.
I can’t do this by myself.
“I’m like an elephant that dreams of gardens
back in Hindustan and doesn’t pay attention
to his driver. You’re my cook, my driver,
my way into existence. I love your cooking.”
The cook says,
“I was once like you,
fresh from the ground. Then I boiled in time,
and boiled in the body, two fierce boilings.
“My animal soul grew powerful.
I controlled it with practices,
and boiled some more, and boiled
once beyond that,
and became your teacher.”
Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
My favourite Chickpea Soup served on our Days of Mindfulness
1 cup garbanzo beans (canned or soaked and cooked from dried beans)
6 cups water or vegetable broth
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp saffron threads
salt and pepper
1 bunch spinach (about 1 pound)
(mushrooms if you wish)
Saute onions in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook
another minute or two. Put in beans with cooking broth or water. Add the
saffron threads and mild amount of salt and black pepper. Let it stew. Add
spinach after washing leaves. Cook until spinach wilts. Check seasoning
Serves 4-6 people. Recipe doubles well.
Thank you for practicing and may you be nourished,