“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
Clearly, who wrote this had never met Wolf Clan or Bear Clan people. Clearly, they haven’t met me (or many of my friends). The love of food is not a sex-thing; it’s a “good living” thing. I believe there’s spiritual value to loving food…
I’ve always loved to eat. I was also fortunate to grow up on some of the tastiest, healthiest home-made food. I ate very little transformed or packaged food. To me, holidays and celebrations are only complete with a home-cooked meal and great people with whom to share it.
Strangely, despite having two great cooks at home as prime teachers (my parents), I only ever took a passing interest in cooking. I never cared for the process or the work involved. It never felt like fun and it only looked like a messy business. I always felt like a sous-chef and never the creator.
Making Food Is a Mindful Practice
Preparing food can be a stressful, mad-dash with high-stakes pressure to entertain. Or it can be a slow, pleasant feast of the senses. It can also be a way to reconnect with your Self in the now. While I’m cutting veggies, I’m thinking of nothing else. When I’m choosing spices and making sauces, I get to be creative. When I throw in basil or coriander, I have a bite, to remind me that it tastes just as fresh as it smells. By ditching the deadlines, I give myself more space to be, to breathe, to pay attention to the process. I can be as focused or as relaxed as I choose to be, depending on my mood.
Making Food is Welcoming Nourishment
When I prepare less of my food, say during busy periods, I tend to be less selective with what I put into my body. Often, that means I’m not paying attention and giving my body what it needs most, whether it be in the form of food (or rest, or exercise). By carefully preparing food, we’re taking time to properly care for ourselves as though we were reaffirming: “I am a priority in my life. My well-being is important, so I take this time to honour my body.”
Science has already shown that when we prepare our meals, we’re more apt to digest them and absorb the nutrients. We’re also allowing our energy bodies to welcome higher forms of nourishment (positive emotional, spiritual, mental food).
My Fear of the Kitchen
One of my fears was that cooking would be time-consuming and complex. I shifted my thinking to:
Preparing and eating good food doesn’t have to be complicated…and I take the time I feel I am worth.
As I return to a flexible, work-at-home schedule, I’ve returned to cooking. Well, cooking and I are taking our relationship a day at a time – no grand gestures yet. You see, I’m not the main cook at home, Scott is, but that’s mainly because I’ve worked two or more jobs for the entirety of our relationship until now (and most of my adult life so far!). Scott does make some tasty dishes too!
I think I’ve struggled because as a less-experienced cook, meal-preparation takes more time. It’s one of those learning curves I was not ready to tackle. Until now.
So what am I making lately?
I make what I want to eat; I don’t force myself into anything I don’t like to do. I decided on making a few meals from scratch per week, occasionally juicing, and brewing some homemade kombucha. I also throw some crock-pot food together, like stews and soups. It’s not fine dining, but it’s important to start with things you enjoy and that have fewer steps to give you big wins right away.
I like wins. And tasty home-cooked meals. For the love of food, and your body-mind health, get friendly with cooking.
Have you been afraid of your kitchen? Is there food you dread making but decided to tackle or learn? Is there a dish you’re proud of? Share your story!