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The Zen of Cooking March 10, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness.

When we are stressed, our attention often turns to food . . . glorious food.  

If we wish to whittle away at our stress levels, without expanding our waistlines, we don’t have to stay out of the kitchen entirely ~ we just need to change our focus. 

Instead of mindlessly inhaling a carton of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey or Chubby Hubby when we are upset, we can use our time in the kitchen wisely ~ to mindfully chop until we drop. 

Cooking is a meditative process which soothes and relaxes us, as long as we stay focused on the task at hand ~ the sights, sounds, smells, and aromas, together with the tantalizing tastes and textures. 

Instead of racing to peel a pound of carrots in record time, while worrying about things outside our control, we can enjoy the journey of cooking as we move steadily toward the destination of creating a delicious dinner.

Cooking for ourselves saves money (and time), and allows us to eat healthier fare than offered at the nearest take out or fast food joint. 

Instead of wondering what’s in our food (or worrying about whether the person preparing it remembered to wash his or her hands after using the restroom), we are able to select fresh ingredients and control the proportion of each according to our own unique tastes and preferences. 

Next time it’s your turn to cook, immerse yourself in the Zen of Cooking. 

Take your time, listen to soothing music, pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy a meditative respite from the stresses and strains of daily life. 

As you rhythmically wash, peel, chop, slice, dice, season and taste, relax into the moment and give thanks for the many blessings in your life ~ including access to fresh vibrant fruits and veggies in bright colorful hues. 

Food, glorious food, offers delicious sustenance to our bodies and peace of mind to our harried souls.

Quote:  Bon Appetit! ~ Julia Child

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Artwork by Anne Abbgott ~ available at Island Gallery West.

Related Resources:  Three Bowl Cookbook * Chop Wood Carry Water


1. Richard W Scott - March 10, 2010

Excellent advice. I do much of the cooking at my house–never with a recipe, however. I like very much how a search through the ingredients in a kitchen will suggest someting to cook.

2. nrhatch - March 10, 2010

While I occasionally use recipes ~ I tend to view them as ideas to play around with, rather than hard and fast rules to follow.

For that reason, I stay away from baking . . . because I don’t want to end up with a bunch of inedible “crispy critters.”

BTW: I remember James bragging on your cooking . . . for days! : )

3. aardvarkian - March 10, 2010

I still have fond memories of Rik’s cheese toasties.


4. Richard - March 11, 2010

Play music while you cook or sip a relaxing drink. Always works for me

5. Joanne - March 20, 2010

Love the music… really like the wine… and all this time I thought I cooked this way just because of my Italian heritage… a pinch of this, a fistful of that…

I used to wonder what was wrong with me for not being able to follow someone else’s simple recipe without inevitably wandering off with my own daring concoctions… Oh, the stories my family still tells of my early “lab” days… 😉

6. nrhatch - March 20, 2010

The Zen of Cooking works with and without a recipe to follow.

Like you, I prefer to mix up my own concoctions . . . using recipes as guidelines for customization. But someone who follows recipes to the letter can benefit equally from bringing their calm, peaceful attention to the task.

When we start moving through our days more deliberately, with greater awareness, we find the joy that’s been there all along.

7. Count Czardas - July 23, 2010

Thank you for the link here from Cindy’s blog. And I fully agree that cooking is about enjoying the whole experience and not just about producing an end result by way of a meal. I am also with you that recipes are useful guidelines rather than rules not to be deviated from.

nrhatch - July 23, 2010

Life should be much more than a series of mundane moments strung together ad infinitum . . . it should be a brilliant dance.

Thanks for your blog post ~ a great reminder to all of us.

Slow down
You move too fast
You’ve got to make the morning last
Trickle down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy

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