It’s been cool and dreary out here and sometimes raining or drizzling. I know that all you East Coasters got a ton of snow suddenly as well. This weather makes it a little hard to go out and absorb nature. Even more reason to embrace cooking and eating meditations. In my last post I gave you, my dear readers, a sort of guided meditation to a lovely recipe for an indulgent Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake. I want to provide you with a little more guidance for kitchen meditations that you can use while cooking anything you desire.
For many people planning a meal and cooking is one of the most stressful things, outside of work. It doesn’t have to be that way. Use your cooking time to bring relaxation into your life, as well as meditation which will increase creativity, memory, and bring some biological benefits to your brain – like neuroplasticity and increase gray matter to slow down your brain aging.
First, here are some basic steps to preparing for Kitchen Meditations:
Start by Playing Relaxing Music – Instrumentals, nature sounds are good options.
Take a Few Deep Breaths Before You Start – 10 deep breaths through your nose is sufficient to get you in the right mind set.
Clean Up the Kitchen – Taking a moment to declutter and organize your cooking space will help you focus and be more relaxed about your task at hand.
Make a Cup of Tea – If you enjoy tea, a cup of tea will help you relax. It’s commonly known that tea and meditation go hand in hand. Breathe in the aroma of the tea enjoy its warmth one sip at a time. Sipping on tea while you cook can be quite relaxing, just as one might sip on a glass of red wine while cooking a heavier meal on a weekend evening.
Do The Prep Work – Get all your ingredients and equipment ready and set out. That will help you avoid getting stressed out about measurements when what you are cooking needs to be carefully watched or you can’t step away from the stove. Study your recipe, that way you don’t have to keep double checking.
Now Begin Your Cooking Meditation with 7 Steps:
- Recognize – Notice the color of your food, see the shape and how it is textured. Try to recognize something in the food you have never seen before. Be as accurate as you can as in recognizing each aroma, scents, and flavors as your food cooks.
- Notice – Notice where your mind wants to travel. Does it drift off to memories past, perhaps associating the smells with previous meals? Or does it race ahead to the future, perhaps imagining what the food is going to taste like? Simply be aware of your thoughts.
- Listen – From the moment you begin to cook listen to the sounds and sensations. Notice sounds, the smells and the sensations that the heat on your stove immediately gives rise to.
- Smell – Notice how the aromas change before, during and after cooking. Absorb the aroma from your cooking.
- Allow – Allow yourself to be 100 percent present with the different senses, rather than being lost in thought. Each time the mind wanders, just gently bring the attention back to the sounds and smells of your cooking.
- Observe – As you observe the mind, use the physical senses as a safe place to come back to when you feel the emotions running off. For example, rather than feeling anxious about feeling anxious, come back to the smell of the food. Instead of getting increasingly frustrated at feeling frustrated, bring your attention back to the sounds of the food cooking.
- Taste – Taste samples of your cooking. Taste raw foods when it is safe, such as fruits and vegetables. Take a bite or nibble while it is cooking and see how the flavors taste together and apart. When you sit down to eat, enjoy each bite and try to recognize each ingredient in the dish.
Next time you cook try to use some of these techniques and see which works best for you to be fully present in your cooking. The kitchen offers one of the best and most creative places for practicing mindfulness. Turning a meal into a meditation experience can be a beneficial way to observe the mind, explore challenges, and also sow love into a meal designed for yourself or your family. Mindful Cooking is an opportunity to consciously cook with love.
In ancient traditions it’s said that the cook transmits subtle properties of his or her thoughts and emotions into the food. This exact idea is depicted in films such as Like Water For Chocolate and Chocolat. Try making a conscious meal and enjoy the creative joy of being present in the kitchen.