Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mindful cooking

We try to eat organically grown foods, buy locally grown produce, and avoid overly processed items. I'm not above the treats and sweets, however. Still, there is a joy in cooking.

The key to mindful cooking, a teacher recently told me, is preparation. Get all your ingredients ready. For us that might mean gathering garden vegetables and herbs together, or going shopping at the farmers market. Spend time chopping all the vegetables (I do mine Sunday night with conversation! Kids can help!). Decide what you will make - simple one-pot meals, rice dishes, stews, soups and lots of no-cook sides are good to please all palates. Prep ingredients by measuring them out into bowls in advance.

Now you can get to cooking. Breathe, put love into it. I like to sometimes have calming music, but it's not necessary. I pour and mix, I listen to it sizzle, smell the aromas, look at the colors, stir, feel the heat, sometimes taste. I try to stay present instead of daydreaming.

Sometimes I use the oven. The kids press the light button to take a peek. Sometimes we cook in the solar oven - they watch the shadows and turn it. Sometimes we use a rice cooker or toaster oven or dehydrator or waffle iron or cake pop maker or some other fascinating device.

Usually, we cook on the gas stove. Electric or something else might be more eco-friendly, but for now this works well. The kids come and pull up a chair to stand on. They pour in the premeasured ingredients. They stir and sprinkle, drizzle and saute. They inhale, they lick fingers. We ooh over the bubbles, aah over aromas, mmm over sips. We dance while we wait, or they go play while I stand and breathe and the water gets ready to boil, the sauce simmers, the rice cooks.

Finally, with a flourish, the stove is turned off. Dinner is served.

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