4 Ways to Ritualize Your Cooking Experience.
Cooking is an experience that awakens and nurtures the home and spirit, because it is an act of creation.
On the days I host small dinner parties, or just prepare a dinner for two, I make it a point to enjoy the experience bycurating a full sensory experience for me and my guests, starting from the moment they walk in the front door. When I cook for special occasions, I prepare my entire home for this process.
My first step is always music. When I cook, for whatever reason, I gravitate immediately to a Bossa Nova playlist. My auditory palette in the kitchen is apparently Brazilian.
But, before I get to the creative work, I do the dirty work. This means clearing out the fridge and washing dishes if needed, wiping down kitchen counters and clearing any space I need (resisting the urge to deep clean and re-organize the entire kitchen --of course). I top off a cleared counter space with a set of tea light candles to add a little sparkle in the space.
As mundane as cleaning sounds, this is the beginning of ritual. And by that I mean, I am ritualistically preparing a space to create. It is an intentional process. Just like an artist prepares sacred space to paint.
An intent, purpose or desired objective.
There is no wrong way to do it!
Usually, my eyes see food and all I want to do is dip my fingers and taste along the way, so I set up a something for me to snack on… Like cinnamon-crisp pita chips, cranberry lined brie cheese and sparkling water. After all, it’s about the little indulgences along the way in life!
Finally, when all the ingredients are chopped and prepared, the magic happens... The stove top is on and the aromas begin to awaken and rise out from the kitchen. I think it’s moments like these that anchor me into present moment and fill me with a sense of gratitude. My home feels alive and lived in. That makes me feel happy.
Here are 4 things to consider as you ritualized your own cooking experience:
1. Prepare your space before you prepare your meal.
Set your sights on how you want to feel through the cooking process. Do you want to feel relaxed? Embraced by your environment, or transported even? Don’t want to worry about making the bed or dirty dishes while your stir the pot? Clear whatever is in your periphery that might distract you from your act of creation. For example, I want to feel comfortable, warm, inspired and free of distraction, which means I do a quick clean sweep of the space before I even step into the kitchen.
2. Nurture the creator (that’s you!) while you create.
I think about all my senses before I start. What music I want to fill the space with, the feel of warm socks on my feet, the flicker of light from a candle, or if I am hungry, the taste of what I am munching on along the process. All of these details mingle to create my experience while I am creating in my kitchen. By being very deliberate within my space, I am able to deliver more of the little things that make me happy.
3. Make it your own.
Every situation and every person is unique. Make it your own by creating a ritual for yourself that works best for you and your home environment. When my son was younger, I found small ways to make the space come alive even though I had one eye on my son and the neighborhood kids running in and out of the front door. Despite the split attention, it brought me joy to have children in my space while I cooked.
4. Being present and feeling gratitude has its benefits.
The act of consciously creating space grounds me in the present moment very quickly. Engulfed in the experience, I become highly aware of my senses and surroundings. When I create joyful experiences, I begin to feel grateful for the little things in life and what I do have. This little positive shift reverberates through the entire home and in life. It definitely does for me.
From my heart-center to yours,
Add your insight to the collective wisdom below:
- How do you ritualized your own cooking experience?
- What in particular makes it special?