Cooking as a Sacrament

Regarding my first recent cooking class, one of the attendees decided to try his hand with some of the seemingly simple recipes at home.

Now, he had been a cook in a restaurant at one time and so has some experience in the kitchen (not to mention, can make a mean omelette!).

Anyway, in addition to swallowing large doses of humility from the experience... (cultivating the delicate 'comingling' of miso soup or rolling a perfectly proportioned maki roll is very different from flipping a steak on the grill) ... and finding the blessing in having a supportive family encouraging him with this new 'language', my friend happened upon another lesson that I had taken for granted. And one that I had forgotten to acknowledge.

That is, the sacrament of preparing food.

Something about the unfamiliarity with new ingredients and cooking styles, the care in preparation, the profound respect of working with live, vital food - and perhaps, the inherent art in Japanese cuisine... whatever it was, he had an experience with food preparation that stunned him.

He likened it to communion, or some other sacrament which made him stop and recognize that, this.. this is something that mattered and was not to be undertaken unconsciously.

Funny, this is part and parcel in macrobiotic training. The natural beauty of the cooking tools: the squarish vegetable knife, the bamboo sushi rolling mat, the ceramic pots.. nothing teflon or microwavable here.

There are recommendations to enter into the kitchen and act of cooking in a peaceful state. Imparting calming energy into the food - singing even.

The power of intention comes across with immediacy.

My friend has been pondering the possibility of greater nourishment being gained from a meal prepared with reverence, even with less than organic ingredients, over that of one in perfect nutritional balance, but prepared in an atmosphere of stress and resentment.

To me, it's basic physiology. Happiness, calm, and gratitude all activate the parasympathetic nervous system. And probably stimulate some good-feeling hormones as well, like oxytocin.

When we're relaxed, our digestive systems function properly, allowing for better digestion and assimilation.

We are more than what we eat.

We are also how we eat. And what we assimilate... be it food, or vibration.

More on this to come...