What Eating Chinese Food, Gardening and Fishing Have in Common


Veggies from my 2010 garden

I found a great new Chinese/Japanese place to eat yesterday. I’d driven past it a million times, but something always kept me from stopping. Since my favorite soup/salad restaurant in the same area closed down, I thought it was time to try the Fuji Steakhouse in Spartanburg, SC.

If I had a fancy cell phone with all the whistles and bells, or if I’d thought to bring my camera, I’d be showing a picture of the most amazing plate of food I ordered. It was tofu with veggies and fried rice. Huge. Really. Beyond delicious as well.

While I was eating and reading a new book by Janet Evanovich I found at the dollar store, something occurred to me. I always eat Asian food with chopsticks. After two years in Korea and a love of far Eastern cuisine my whole life, I consider it almost a sin to eat these delicacies with a fork! As a matter of fact, I have also taught tons of people to eat with chopsticks in under two minutes. However, I digress.

What came into my thoughts was that you have to pay attention to eat this food with chopsticks. I don’t mean shoveling it in your mouth without thinking as you do when you’re eating with a fork. I mean you REALLY have to pay attention. If you don’t, you’ll not only not be able to eat anything, but you also may wind up with food all over the table and your clothes if you don’t. Real hand to mouth contact, so to speak.

I’d been working in my yard for a good part of the morning before I went out in search of the perfect meal or perfect deal. I found a pretty perfect deal, but I decided to wait.

When I’m working in the garden or fishing, I lose track of time. I am fully engaged in those particular hobbies of mine, just as I am paying exact attention when I eat Chinese food.

The Buddhists call it “mindfulness.” The new-agers call it “meditation.” Many Christians call it “prayer. It is being fully in the moment. It represents a time when we can concentrate profoundly on what we are doing, without letting the stress of our everyday lives get to us.

For me, I don’t think about what I’m going to eat, wear or if my house needs repairs. I forget painful memories, don’t worry about anyone else and feel joy and peace in every part of my being.

It is my way of communing with God, nature and my inner self. I sometimes get great revelations when I do so. I sometimes don’t.

I did forget for a moment yesterday and spilled a little food on my bright turquoise peasant shirt. I almost tripped and fell while walking down my uneven pathway while gardening today.

But I always catch fish. Come to think of it, it’s that time of year, and I need to go fishing.

One year I had the extreme pleasure of living in the mountains of Northern California. I went fishing every day there wasn’t snow on the ground. I caught tons of rainbow trout, my favorite fish. I felt awe at watching a family of ducks grow up. seeing the leaves turn their brilliant colors and looking at the reflection of the trees in the crisp, clean and cool water. That was one of the most painful years of my lives in other respects, but the fishing made the pain go away.

I hope you have hobbies or habits that do the same for you.

What will you be mindful of today?

Hey, and if you’ve read this far, how about leaving a comment! I’d surely appreciate it.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “What Eating Chinese Food, Gardening and Fishing Have in Common

  1. I love this piece. too love asian food. As a vegetarian it is one of the few places I can eat out and get good tofu. So working on being in the moment in my life right now. It is very hard at times.

    • Hi Tasha, I love vegetarian food, but I still eat meat, fish and dairy. Don’t know if I’ll ever change that completely! I know it is hard to stay in the moment, and our difficulties sometimes seem as if they’ll never end. Just keep saying, “Something GOOD is going to happen to me today!” And remember, God loves you and believes in you. If you ever need someone to listen, just click on the mail link on my “About” page in this blog. I just updated it. Have a blessed weekend!

  2. Judy Manning

    Why did we never go fishing together Ellie? I love fishing and I think we both had so much going on in our lives that we never talked about fishing. We have been working on the yard, my son is working on the garden and I on the flower beds. I have a new rod and reel (not an expensive one) and I hear it calling my name today.
    Thanks for the nice article.

    • Hi Judy, I don’t know why we never went fishing. I used to go downtown and sit behind the motel to fish for my favorite rainbow trout! Maybe you can come up here one day and we’ll go together? Meanwhile, get out and GO! It’s so nice to hear from you, and I appreciate your kind comment 🙂

  3. JohnYoung

    You are indeed blessed. I, too, love far eastern food and think the only way to eat it is with chopsticks. Unfortunately, however, I have learned how to shovel food into my mouth with chopsticks at least as rapidly as with a fork. Living in the city, with no back or front or side yard, I can’t enjoy gardening the way you do, but I do feel compelled to do what I can with containers, etc. In lieu of fishing –which I haven’t done in decades, I have an obsession with woodworking. I’d love to give you a handmade bamboo rod. Please give me a holler if you have any interest in this.

  4. I never thought of it that way, well put!

  5. Shirley Colley

    Ellie thanks for including me in your group. I would like some Chinese food.
    But here in Groveland there is no Chinese restaurant. I look forward to
    more writings.
    Love Shirley

    • I look forward to having Chinese food with you in Sonora one of these days, Shirley! It’s been TOO long (just three years) since I’ve seen you. But it seems like forever!

  6. David A. Else

    The thing about rainbow trout is knowing that they are a gift from God for dinner and all you have to do is cast. Remember that day. We approached the lake and settled between an older couple on the left and a father and son on the right. “What are you using?” “Worms, but nothing doing.” We put worms on the hook, I casted once and landed a good size trout then you casted once and landed a better size one and we left and told them to have a great day.

    • I do, I do remember that day with the fondest memories. It was the first time we spent a lot of time together since high school. Thanks for reminding me again, and maybe one day, we’ll have another day like that 🙂

  7. Karen Fitzgerald

    I’m the same way with chopsticks Ellie! I can not eat Asian food without them. It just doesn’t taste right. We were just talking about Mexican food but now this conversation has me craving Asian. Let’s do it!

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