I met a woman once [author’s note: I think this is in the film Amelie too but it’s been a while since I watched it, so this is taken from a real person who I once met] who talked probably more than you’d expect about cracking the top on a crème brûlée. “Yeah yeah, I get it” I thought, you like French-style dairy-based desserts that require a blowtorch. Got it. Actually I didn’t get it. At least not at the time.
It was actually bugger all to do with crème brûlée (although that was a happy side-effect) and all to do with enjoying the moment. Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is really trendy at the moment. As is meditation. There are loads of blogs, podcasts, apps, YouTube videos about ‘all that stuff’ (and I’m ironically aware (awareness being the central tenet of mindfulness) of ironically adding myself to that list…). The thing is, ‘all that stuff’ is almost as old as humanity. It might not have been given a name until (probably) the Chinese gave it one but it existed.
Cracking the top of a crème brûlée is, if you’re so inclined, really quite satisfying. The anticipation. The spoon bearing down on the glass-like surface. The subsequent fragmentation of the burnt sugar. The myriad fissures revealing the smooth, creamy filling beneath. See? There’s quite a lot to think about when you put your mind to it.
What’s your crème brûlée? The whole idea behind ‘all that stuff’ is presence. It could be really enjoying your favourite dessert or listening to your favourite album or walking barefoot on grass. It doesn’t matter what it is. What’s important is that when you’re doing it without distractions you’re meditating. Ta da! You didn’t realise that the last time you were listening to Bohemian Rhapsody and singing along, did you?
*All the small things by Blink-182 is my go-to karaoke track. Just a bit of trivia there for you.