Last Saturday I peeled and grated 20lbs of potatoes for our annual latke-fest. By hand. Yes, I know a food processor would make short work of the potatoes. But most of you haven't tasted my latkes.* And I wouldn't have this post to write or be able to use such a catchy title** if I used a food processor.
There's something almost hypnotic about grating that many potatoes. It's mindless. I like doing the occasional mindless task. I get two things out of it. One is the ability for quiet introspection, something I tend to benefit from. The other, while not being introspective, is uninterrupted time for free thought. By that I mean I start thinking about something, say an issue with my research, and let my thoughts go where ever they take me. It's amazing how often I stumble on the right experiment or solution to a problem (usually unrelated to the starting one) doing this. So peeling and grating 20lbs of potatoes is time well spent.***
And the post-grating beer is pretty good too.
* They're damn good.
** With apologies to Robert M. Persig, author of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." If you haven't read it, you probably should.
*** I mow my own lawn, paint walls etc. for much the same reason. That and I'm too cheap to pay someone to do it.