Mustard, grains and other snags

Publish date 16-06-2022

by Alberto Brigato

Last week I made mustard. Here in Brazil we have a jar full of mustard grains, motionless that looks at me and teases me and, since I am not a person who is prayed for, I decided to do something about it, to learn something new and above all to experiment myself in the kitchen, after all it is just a sauce like any other.

But no, mustard carries with it a whole aura of mystery and curiosity, that lapidary and at the same time stimulating sentence of Jesus - "if only you had faith like a mustard seed" - enriches this insignificant grain with an almost religious expectation and, frankly, even a little healthy envy. He, so small that he becomes the largest of the plants in the garden, becomes a place to build a nest, a place to rest and rest.

Loaded with this expectation and the impatience that distinguishes me, I eat a teaspoon of these seeds, as they are, dry ... obviously they don't know anything and one got stuck in my teeth, between the two bridges and got stuck, to give annoyance all day. He bothered the teeth he had slipped into, the tongue that was always chattering and the whole mouth that suffered from it. He was right there, like a thousand other things in my and our life of fraternity, which very small slip between us, in our relationships, which get stuck and there is no toothbrush that can remove them.

Recipe for mustard: soak the grains in vinegar and wait 12 hours

I do it and the following morning these had exploded, in the true sense of the word, swollen and overflowing, they even came out of the jar and scattered on the kitchen counter, they came back alive and found their true flavor.

I think it is the same for our grains, we must not make our gums bleed with pipe cleaners: it is basically the easiest solution. We must immerse ourselves in vinegar, the one that heals wounds, precisely because it makes them burn a little, that vinegar that gives flavor to our life, to our sad salad, which otherwise would not taste like anything. Vinegar that awakens us, that revives those who have passed out, accentuates the senses, brings us back to being full, swollen and overflowing, each taken individually or together with the others, vinegar that reminds us of who we were before we became dry. And then you have to wait, in the silence of one, a hundred, a thousand times, in which you would like to make the mustard IMMEDIATELY; we must wait, like the disciples in the Upper Room, in the prayer that fills and melts, accompanied by Mary who consoles and certainly cooks. Then salt, sugar, oil and blend everything.

That jar full of seeds was not yet mustard, they were beautiful, tasty, full of a new found life, but they remained very simple seeds. You have to chop everything, blend, go through the blades, get cut and let the juice out. To bring out the taste of the life we ​​have inside, to homogenize everything with the help of oil, our continuous prayer, sharing, the human devices that make life in fraternity pleasant, eager to be lived, that it does me good and that it makes me feel good with others, because I have chosen it and I choose it every day.

I am that seed, I choose to go through the blender, not out of masochism, or because I aspire to martyrdom, but because only in this way I get out and out of it mustard, sweet and salty at the same time, sour and spicy, it becomes my only real life possible, used to add a little flavor to the time we have before us, together.

Alberto Brigato

NP febbraio 2022

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