The Benefits of Conscious Cooking
Cooking with love for yourself or for others is an art. It does not mean putting yourself on the stove, cutting and assembling food at random that for taste and aroma are combined without too much trouble to fill the stomach and no longer feel the bites of hunger, it is an art and can also become a very pleasant form of meditation.
“I am convinced that the kitchen reveals in a person its relationship with the earth, the sense, the body and the… Sex. He’s putting us out in the open. Those who love food love meat. Who is able to spend three hours palpating, chopping, kneading, peeling, grating, slicing, for such an ephemeral pleasure as a meal, is a gaudy first-order. A being full of sensuality.”
The pleasure of the senses can help you be more aware in your life
It all starts with the greengrocer where you can smell vegetables when you cross the threshold of the shop. They must be good, juicy, genuine and above all ripe at the right point. You’ll feel their texture under your fingers and that might already inspire your creativity and make your mouth water.
You know those tomatoes so red and juicy that you’d put only a pin of salt on it before you sink your teeth with libidinous; together with the abundant and fresh juice is the sun and summer that tickle your taste buds? The smell is lost in that scent that smells of picnics by the sea and that seeks, perhaps, with a fresh and balsamic note to marry: a freshly picked basil leaf would be fine.
This culinary pleasure is actually a meditation, cooking with love is meditating, enjoying food slowly, giving time to perceive the different aromatic nuances and the union of textures that mix in the mouth, to be amazed at each bite is a meditation, only that it’s a little informal meditation, that’s all.
Cooking with love is a sensory experience
I make a small premise: you can do your little culinary meditation even by preparing a simple slice of bread with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, because no matter how elaborate or complicated the dish you’ll be prepared to taste, what you’re going to taste, what you’re going to taste matter is how much you are present in you while you do it.
During this somewhat special meditation, you just have to focus on your sensory perceptions. Each stage of the preparation of your dish will activate some answers of your body and what you will have to do is simply grasp them and live them to the full.
Already as you clean your vegetables you can kick off your meditative experience: you will feel the flow of fresh water on your skin and the peel of vegetables that will gradually become smoother under your hands; their colour will change and become more alive and you may also feel their scent more clearly once they have been cleaned from the land of the garden. Then the time for the knife will come: deep enclose the blade in the pulp and slide it slowly following the curves of the vegetable, feel the knife slip unhindered to reveal the bright and bright vivid colour of the raw material, and then stop, close the eyes, smell the genuine scent, and if nature allows it, cut a piece of it and taste it slowly to release all the aromas.
A meditation based on awareness and attention
Tatto, sight, smell, taste, hearing (have you ever heard the bread singing with a slight pressure of your fingers?) are involved when you cook, that’s why it becomes a meditation; in focusing on your feelings and perceptions, let go of thought and mental refit; you are present in what you do, you dress the body and you are no longer confined only to the sphere of thought.
This informal practise of meditation (there is also formal practice, to be honest) is called Sati, which in the language means “awareness”, “attention” or “full mental awareness” and is based on living fully every moment, moment after moment. The focus on your sensory experiences helps you activate certain brain areas that will lead you to experience greater serenity and release of tensions. Cooking will become a moment of deep pleasure.
Learning to taste: the meditation of the grape
In the conscious kitchen, the tasting phase is also important, but it is necessary to remember how you taste the food.
Grape grain meditation is a practice devised by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; This practice has been incorporated into the MBSR or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction protocol which helps mitigate chronic stress, self-criticism and haunting thoughts about the past and fears about the future.
In addition to these benefits, it also helps to re-educate us to have a healthier relationship with food instead of swallowing with it a mountain of emotions and thoughts not (or bad) expressed.
In this way, cooking becomes much more than just preparing a meal: it becomes an act of pure pleasure that it makes to the body and mind.