Letting Go of the Pancakes

Here is a very small story from my last experience at a monastery in the UK.

It was November and the monastery was full of forest workers hailing from all over Europe, in addition to the usual regular guests. This meant that the kitchen rota would be populated by a melting pot, quite literally. On this particular morning I had to work in the kitchen with 2 chaps from the Netherlands. One was a pensioner who was staying at the monastery for the first time, while the other young man, who was in his 20s, told me this was the 5th year he was staying there to do forest work. Before starting up cooking we briefed each other what we had in mind. Enthusiastic as we were of the diversity at the place (I had just landed from the sky from Malta, where the temperature still permitted t-shirts and here I was in a damp forest, warming my heart in a hearth among the frost…), it was decided on 2 dishes inspired from our cultures: [Dutch] pancakes and [Maltese] baked pasta. The first hour felt slightly edgy until all the burners were occupied. But as soon as we stopped for a puja mid-way, we each took a stool, made some tea, and forgot about the pressures of cooking as we nibbled and chatted. It is always surprisingly reassuring how similar we all are in our differences. As usually happens in the monastery kitchen, time crunched on us and in synchronized half-saddened looks we glimpsed at each other and then at the raw eggs. No time left for the delicious pancakes! On the whim of the moment we decided to do quick sunny side-ups, which I took on wholeheartedly. As I finished some garnish in the centre of the glimmering fried eggs, one of my colleagues told me: Now is the time to let go of the pancakes…
This just cracked me up and I thought this is a perfect practical example of what letting go means. It was a great take-away lesson which I like to bring up to this very instant when I find it challenging, at times, to understand the concept of letting go. Now I also have got better understanding why communal work is so important.:fried_egg:


Hehe sounds like my last month. I even came from t-shirt weather to cold and fog. We’ve made so many different dishes. Birthday cakes, Finnish buns, Mexican quesadilla and many curries. All missing at least one ingredient that would normally be important to the dish. Such is the nature of the monastery pantry. Another way of letting go, practicing contentment and seeing how wonderful imperfection can be.


The title of this thread made me chuckle. I am on a diet right now where I can’t have carbs at all (ketogenic diet), so I have literally had to let go of pancakes!

Interestingly, I have found that when I simply let that limitation be “just as it is”, I don’t struggle with it. When I start sneaking in a pancake or two, that’s when the suffering happens!