Mindful Cooking

Using cooking to restore the soul

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Photo by Taylor Kiser on Unsplash

Pulling the chef’s knife from its place amongst the others, I slip it in to my right hand. This old friend, a gift from years past,  well balanced and often sharpened, has shared many a meal with me. With all the daily stresses in life I take this time each day to stop and pause. I pull out ingredients from the fridge or my garden. The beginning of this ritual of preparing a meal causes me to slow down and leave any worries outside my kitchen. Paired with my cutting board we begin the process. It is a transformation from a pile of separate food stuffs to a blending, a melange of something, that exceeds the individual components. Then the aromas begin with the first cut of the knife. I take joy in the staccato rhythm as my knife and fingers deftly move through the slicing of an onion to the chopping of the red pepper. Once these items are sizzling in the well seasoned cast iron pan, I go back to slice the meaty shiitakes into uniform slices and mince the garlic from the garden. These are then thrown into join the onion and pepper, the kitchen coming alive with more aromas that take me back through time to meals from other years, other moments.  Though my mind can wander, the food, the pan demands my attention and brings me back to the task at hand.  Having done this for many meals, in many kitchens, my mind easily rests in the tasks at hand. It is not a chore or drudgery.  I am creating something to nourish. In this act of creativity, I find solace in times of disappointment and joy in preparing food for others. This nightly act of nourishing the body also nourishes the soul; slowing down for a moment to reflect on my day and my life.

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