Outside the Law: Pasta Making as Meditation with Hannah Seigel Proff

In the early days of the pandemic, it seemed everyone was talking (or posting) about their hobbies— photographs of Sourdough bread, tie-dye shirts, and embroidery projects filled group chats, and social media feeds. I quickly became self-conscious that I had reached adulthood without a hobby. My urge to fill this void went beyond wanting something to talk about during Zoom happy hours with friends; studies have shown that hobbies can improve your life and work performance.


So began my search for a hobby.


I flailed around in my basement alongside an online hip-hop dance class, I failed (yet again) at a vegetable garden, and I ordered some yarn and considered re-learning to knit. But it wasn’t until I decided to try my hand at making homemade ravioli, losing myself in the construction of a pasta dish, that I found my first real hobby.


Step One: Mixing

Hannah's slurry mix


What I love about the art of making pasta is that your success is based on feel. The first step in pasta making is creating the perfect slurry by mixing the eggs, flour, salt, and olive oil.


Step Two: Knead the Dough Until it Feels like Play Dough

Beet pasta dough


The second step, my favorite, is kneading the dough. Kneading pasta dough has become a form of meditation for me. Some doughs are delicate, and you must be careful of over-kneading, but pasta dough needs at least 15 minutes of the steady rhythm and agitation of kneading before it is ready to rest. The goal is to knead the dough until you have a play-dough-like texture.


Step Three: Folding the Pasta

Folded ravioli


After you let your dough rest, you get to play with your food, rolling out playable sheets of dough that you can then use to create countless pasta shapes and stuffed pasta perfection. I love the repetition of this step. Crafting each perfect pillow of pasta is so relaxing.


Making pasta turned out to be one of the ways I soothed myself during quarantine and beyond.

The perfect hobby takes you away from your desk both physically and mentally. While I make pasta, I am focused on the textures and flavors, and my hands are covered in dough. The practice of law is far from my mind.


The finished product!


The best part of my newfound pasta-making hobby is the meals I create and share with family and friends. Whether I make thick ropes of linguine, perfect pillows of ravioli, or cute stamped corzetti, the finished product brings sustenance and joy to the people I feed, which is the best feeling in the world.

 

Hannah Seigel Proff is a CWBA board member and solo practitioner at Proff Law LLC, a boutique law firm specializing in juvenile and criminal defense. Members can follow along with Hannah’s pasta-making by following her on Instagram @hannahpd.

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