I am finding inspiration in the most unlikely places. Here is a Youtube video of an elderly Italian man making homemade tomato sauce the way he learned in Italy as a child. Chef Pasquale Sciarappa starts by cutting and prepping a huge bag of tomatoes and talking about how his family used get up at 4 am and walk to the farm, gather tomatoes, and walk back to town for three hours (this may sound familiar to some of my Ashtanga friends.) He then proceeds to make this beautiful looking thick sauce. He builds a fire in his backyard and heaves a large cauldron of these peeled tomatoes and stirs it with a dowel for three hours. He then painstakingly runs the tomatoes through a hand-cranked separator. He does all of this wearing a pristine white shirt that miraculously stays clean throughout the whole process. This is not so much a “how to” video, than a view of the process it takes to make something magical.
It is clear from his approach to cooking that he has had much discipline growing up. I researched an article about Sciarappa that said he earned his money as a school custodian for many years. At one point in the video, Sciarappa lifts the heavy hot pot onto the flames for the umpteenth time, pauses to catch his breath, looks into the camera and says “Hard work, eh? You wanna good sauce, you gotta sweat. You no sweat…no sauce.”
This man stays true to his culture and labors to keep his tradition alive. There is nothing more real than this man’s cooking. He does everything by hand, and uses natural means to create this sauce. As a result, it has kept him young. Much like yoga, we have to work hard and sweat by adhering to what we have learned from our teachers who have toiled years to learn what they have passed down to us. That way we can stay young like Chef Pasquale!