There is something to be said for letting your mind wander. Even in the kitchen. Even when you have a rather sharp kitchen tool in your hand. Even when you’re cooking meat that is notorious for turning dry and flavorless if you’re not careful. I have often aspired to take part in the disciplined mind-wandering of meditation or to be lulled into a peaceful mental vacation on a yoga mat. But in my busy life this is unlikely. More often than not, my mind enters the blissful state of thinking about absolutely nothing when I am in less zen-like places. Like in front of the kitchen sink. It happened the other day when I was peeling a carrot. I kept peeling and peeling, my hands focused on the task but my mind …well, I don’t know exactly where my mind was. But before I knew it I had peeled the entire carrot instead of chopping it into rounds like I had intended. But this is the beauty of letting your mind wander. Sometimes it leads you to an interesting place; a place you never would’ve gotten to had you been following an exact recipe. The carrot had turned into a beautiful swirl of thin ribbons that I sautéed quickly with fennel and red pepper flakes. The carrot was still a carrot, but changing its shape and texture made it taste like an entirely new vegetable, one that I hadn’t already eaten thousands of times during my life.