Cooking: A Practice in Self-love
Its taken me a while to see cooking as a devotion. Many people in our world speak about cooking as being some sort of burden or drudgery. Something to be avoided at all costs. Definitely not something to be enjoyed or to seek relaxation in. Especially, after a long day at the office. I get it. Cooking takes time and effort. Something that many of us, are already stretched thin to find. The hard part for me, and the part that came with time, was realizing that cooking was essential to my overall sense of wellness. I didn't feel happy if I wasn't in the kitchen preparing food for myself. Around that same time I was going through a healing crisis where my body was basically screaming at me to nourish myself. So really, I couldn't avoid it any longer. I had to cook whether I felt like it or not.
The plants were a big help in finding inspiration in the kitchen. Having fresh herbs and wild weeds growing out in the yard wherever I've lived allowed me to slow down and connect with that part of me that was seeking nourishment. Those kinds of edible plants are especially "talkative." They want to be looked at and touched and taken into the kitchen. They always felt happy to be growing and providing their tender leaves and vibrant blossoms for a meal.
Recently, I was preparing a bone broth from a chicken which usually takes about 2 days hanging out on the stove start to finish. Its a real delicacy when done right. Extracting essential minerals and soothing gelatin from the bones is an ancient basis of cooking all over the world. While stirring in some herbs to the golden broth this thought came to me--- preparing food is a process. What I felt in that moment was that I too had gone through something, just as the water and bones had changed into a healing broth.
Because traditional food preparations take time, they can create these markers in your week. I realized that so much had happened in my life between the time I started the broth and when it was finished. The bone broth didn't necessarily change me, but the fact that it allowed me to slow down long enough to realize the subtle shifts I was experiencing in my life was all I needed.
Cooking is a practice and a tool. Just like yoga is or meditation for that matter. Its another way to slow down, connect and ask,"where can I show myself more love?" I think the more we allow ourselves to look at cooking in this way the more space we give ourselves to really enjoy the process.
Next time you're soaking rice, making stock or fermenting vegetables, take note of how you're feeling and where your head/body/spirit is. Ask yourself, "Who was I when I began this process? Who am I now that it's completed and ready to be eaten?"