Engaged cooks are aware of how our choices and actions affect others and the world. We see food as a way to support and communicate our values. Engaged cooks want to know what’s in our food, where it comes from, and how it is made. We try to make informed choices as we buy, eat, and share food, seeing these as powerful ways to approve of and reinforce behavior.
As an engaged cook:
- You bring ingredients into your home and literally make them part of your body and the bodies of those you cook for. What an intimate form of approval!
- The producers are acutely aware of what you buy. They will try to make more of it because they want you to buy again. They will make less of what fewer people buy. This is the most direct way to support local farmers and organic practices. It’s the most direct way to protest the factory farming and the mistreatment of workers and animals.
- The people you eat with may notice the food you eat or share. These meals can lead others to reconsider their own, even without you saying a word.
- Even when you eat alone, choosing food that supports your world view will bring you a sense of harmony. This will help you pursue your mission, both directly and by giving you peace of mind. When I worked in politics, I used to growl every time I passed the soda machine stocked by a company that funded the other side.
Mindful cooks seek to remain in the present moment, not reliving the past or thinking forward to the future. Mindful cooking helps us notice and appreciate the many ways that food connects us with our bodies, those we may be eating with, all those who helped make our meal possible, and the planet itself. For the most part, cooking mindfully takes no more time than usual. It may even save time because you will tend to cook with more purpose and less distraction.
Mindful cooks can experience shopping and cooking as a form of mediation. If you want, bring yourself to the present moment using my 3×3 Thanks meditation for cooks, which will bring you in touch with your body, gratitude, and purpose. As you cook mindfully, you tend to waste less. You may take a moment to arrange meals beautifully. This can bring you the pleasure of doing a brief art project and make the food more appealing to others. It can also remind you of their impermanence, as sand mandalas do for Tibetan monks.
Learn More about Mindful and Engaged Cooking
- How to practice mindful cooking
- How Eating Plants Supports the Five Mindfulness Trainings
- Spheres of Engagement: Communicating about Food
- 7 Ways Home Cooking Can Reduce Your Post-Election Risk
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