Felix Olschewski

Composer. Musician. Author.

Adventures in South Africa, pt. III

In which I extend my lifespan by cooking the perfect omelette.

During my stay in Cape Town I decided to take drum lessons. It never hurts to learn more about rhyhthm. This is an opportunity to expand my musical vocabulary for composing. And I just love to learn new stuff anyway.

If drinking coffee can improve my music, taking drum lessons certainly will do so as well. But where is the connection to cooking an omelette and how should it expand my lifespan?

Forget time to make it memorable

You may have gathered that I love good food. Good food can excite your senses and draw all your attention. In Cape Town you can experience new flavour combinations, textures and qualities daily. Your senses of taste and smell learn new vocabularies.

Tapas style lunch at Chefs Warehouse. Great stuff.
Tapas style lunch at Chefs Warehouse.

Learning something new requires attention. To make the most out of it, you need to be fully aware of every moment.

As long as you keep this conscious focus, time often seems to fly by. My drum and vocal lessons are always over before I know it.

But did I just lose this time that has passed?

Paradoxically, the opposite appears to be true. Time may just have passed me by. But I will be able to remember most of this lesson for the rest of my life.

As time flies

That time I roasted cocoa beans for the first time in my life? Two hours were gone in a heartbeat. Cupping coffee at Rosetta Roastery? Thirty minutes went by in a breeze and I remember every detail of the process.

Maybe you have ever experienced this on your way to work: You get into your car to drive to work. You arrive without really knowing what you did in between. You were on autopilot, your mind wandering somewhere else. You can not remember any part of the actual way.

You have truly lost time.

In just the same way you lose the time you spend bored in front of a TV screen. The kind of time that seems to stretch on and on, spent waiting for something to happen.

Go on an adventure. Climb a mountain.
Go on an adventure. Do something new.

What has this to do with making the perfect omelette?

Why do you remember your first kiss? Or that christmas dinner with the whole family when you were 12 and everyone was so happy? You were conscious and engaged. These moments of full awareness entered your mind and are stored as vivid memories.

We will get to the tasty omelette in just a moment.

Be a student for life to stay awake

Learning truly, which requires aware consciousness, apparently increases your amount of lasting memories.

You are in the Now and build a library of experiences. You will not look back on such a life and ask “Where has all the time gone?”

You will not ask because you will remember. Your life feels longer.

Time does not fly for this coffee. It takes 8 hours to make this Kyoto Iced Yirgacheffe. But you can taste this journey with every drop.
Time does not fly for this coffee. This Kyoto Iced Yirgacheffe takes 8 hours to make. But you can taste this journey with every drop. This coffe has really lived its life…

So how can an omelette extend your lifespan?

I like a good breakfast. It does not need to be an omelette. Yet it amazes me how so few places in this town serve a decent omelette. So in order to make my daily breakfast more enjoyable, I decided to learn how to make a proper French omelette myself.

After months of daily practice I can now state with confidence that I can prepare an amazing omelette.

Every morning I will pay close attention to my process of omelette-making. There is a lot to learn here:

I will pick up differences in the way the eggs behave while I beat them with different motions.

The way not only different amounts but also varying ratios of parsley to chives influence the flavour.

How much heat and what timing exactly I need to perfectly curdle the eggs for the right, moist cosistency.

And how the almighty butter can indeed always improve everything further, and further still.

The omelettes in this picture look similar but between them lie two months and a world of flavour and texture differences.
These omelettes may look similar but between them lie two months and a world of flavour and texture differences.

All this attention to detail forces me to live in the moment. My urge to improve the omelette further keeps me from dropping into a routine.

This way I not only extend my lifespan but I also become a better cook. And get a good breakfast. A good way to spend my time.

Eventually I will stop learning more about the omelette and routine will set it. Then I will start making poached eggs.

Very good, but still not there. On the side: Tartare of lightly smoked trout and avocado.
Very good, but still not there. On the side: Tartare of lightly smoked trout and avocado.

Would you rather die at age 21?

You can, of course, decide that you have learned enough at age 21, after apprencticeship. You can just get a job and by all means, stop learning because that is for kids.

You can wake up at age 65 and ask where all the time has gone.

You can die because you feel you have lost your purpose.

You do have a choice

Time is a matter of perception. Your perception. And you can change your perception, you can influence the amount of conscious time you have in your life. Learn. Learn how to skate, to paint, to sing, to fly. Learn whatever you want to learn.

Never stop. Stay awake.

The road can be beautiful, if you chose to take notice.
The road can be beautiful, if you choose to be aware of it.

Start now

Just take a new path to an old destination. Even if it is just your way home from work. See new things, stay engaged. Eat something for dinner you have never tried before, even if it is just a new spice.

Make things happen to your life. Don’t wait for life to happen to you.

Do something new and discover a typewriter in a stone wall.
Do something new and discover a typewriter in a stone wall.

To be continued – my adventures in South Africa still not over.

Read previous parts in this series:

Stay tuned to learn about more of my adventures, my live performance in Cape Town’s Company Gardens and how I catch the muse by subscribing to my free newsletter.

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