A Pause For Food

After talking about the joy of markets, lets pause for a thought about food. I often do on Sunday, the day after buying some food in and thinking of the menus for the week.

As we know, out thoughts construct our creations and realities, and change our lives. It’s January, and people think a lot about food now, such as how to eat less, reduce calories, eat healthier, and the vegan foods marketing is in full throttle.

So I went to the market, bought food that I know tastes better. 

I have well discovered this is not placebo mentality, as many local organic food fans will verify.

Next step is home made meals all made from scratch. Nothing from packets and tins with microwaving instructions. We then discover our home made food tastes better than the packets, and even better than restaurants.

I am absolutely hopeless when I try to be cheffy with packet food. It usually comes out rubbery or burned ... and takes longer to prepare.

With Claire we sometimes say “let’s go to a restaurant for a change. It may be ego but more than not I come away disappointed with the food.

Restaurants seem to focus very heavily on tastes 
and chefs may take some dubious steps to get to that. 

What I love about restaurants is studying layouts of how food is presented. Huge inspiration and art there.

Even the food prepared with love and positive thoughts tastes better. There is no doubt than made from scratch food made at home from fresh and known source ingredients is much better.

... but it may not just be because of the ingredients?

There are old sayings about ‘made with mother’s love’, and there we have the key organic essential ingredient.

When I am in the kitchen preparing its rarely about, “make something quick, I’m starving!”, or “do I have to do this? Can I call out for a pizza?”.

Kitchen to me is a canvas, ingredients, tools for the strokes, and creations. The joy in seeing the alchemy happening. There must be a lot of love stirred in?

Then it’s the serving.

Just about every religion has a tradition of pausing 
for a few moments of gratitude before eating. 

This is one reason why we wait until everyone is at the table and ready together, to share this gratitude, in response for what we are about to receive.

Religions have organised this into specific rituals of words, which may be limiting for some people. Giving each person a chance to share word gratitude for food each day is nice. We cannot have everyone saying a few words, though, like a talking stick session, or food will be cold and losing it’s peak of loveliness.

Some people go into group chants before eating.

With me, I usually do this without words. It is a pause, but not really silence. Its a communication without words and sound. These days, some people may call that, ‘tantric’.

Encouraging others to join in is quite a challenge now, as we are in the short attention span digital age. It seems everyone arriving at a meal table has a text to send, feels a need to take a photo of the food and put it on instagram, or call for a group hug selfie over the table, or switch on the dining room smart tv to watch news or show off a YouTube.

Calling people to join us in food gratitude can become too much attention demanding.

So, what I do is do my own gratitude thing with my meals. Gradually, people stop and ask what I am doing. Then they start doing it too, and fully get it. So meal gratitude seem to work by setting our own example.

Moving onto tea ...

A Chinese boss, from my past, insisted that green tea, any tea, was to drink through a meal, not after it.

Away from meals I love the intention of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. But even here in Ireland some of us still perform the cut down version of this with loose leaf teas, warming the pot, waiting for it to brew, tea cosies, carefully presented china cups etc., etc.,

I feel its not the caffeine in tea that helps us to feel good, but our attitude to it. This attitude can potent when we share tea with others, with calm and not rushed.

Its that same ‘love’ ingredient added as with food.

I am a huge believer in our thoughts and intentions carried by water. Positive words to water being more nourishing than being angry at it. I feel this carries through the water in tea and the water in all foods.

So to get nice and fuzzy holistically about this, I feel there is much love to be shared and nourishment to be received when we are mindful before we eat, and drink liquids. Always take a pause to be thankful of what we are about to receive.

Most people in a bar and served their first beer will first look at it, pause, be thankful for it, plus some anticipation generated ... and then the first sip ...

I am sure if we are mindful with good thoughts before consuming anything, the physical effects are greatly enhanced.

Pausing for food, for tea, a beer, for water, is an incredible simple practice with incredible healthy effects.

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