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Mindful Cooking: What Is It?

May 11, 2020 • Posted in

These days, we're surrounded by a lot of stress — family, work, and many other little things. It's not uncommon to treat cooking as an escape. Cooking provides a chance to slow down and appreciate the many sensations that food creates as it changes.

Mindful cooking is a meditative technique to experience the here and now as deeply as you can. More at-home cooks are trying it to disconnect from the everyday rush. Let's explore a few ways that you can attempt mindful cooking.

Two Approaches to Mindful Cooking

There are two main approaches to mindful cooking: 

Inactive Cooking

Inactive cooking is when there's little to do after you've prepared your dish. For example, you've slipped a pan into the oven and set the timer, and now it's time to relax.

Find a space nearby to sit down, close your eyes and start a breathing exercise. Remove any lingering thoughts from your attention and allow the different fragrances and aromas to take their place instead. See if you can recognize the scents of the individual ingredients, feel the warming temperature of the room or hear any bubbling or sizzling. Through your analysis, you're increasing your awareness of the moment.

Active Cooking

Active cooking occurs with multiple steps and requires most of your attention and alertness. Perceive how every ingredient you add and every action from pouring to stirring and kneading changes the appearance, smell, and texture of your creation.

When your mind wanders outside of your kitchen, let your breath bring your focus back slowly. While your eyes and hands work, reflect on your mood as well. Are you confident or anxious while handling multiple tasks at once? Note your posture while standing at the range or counter, and remember to relax your tense body parts.

Other Techniques to Increase Mindfulness

Try these other approaches to mindfulness while cooking: 

  • Express gratitude for the environment you're in before you start cooking. Consider the ingredients you get to eat and the weather outside your kitchen window.
  • Leave the smartphone out of the kitchen, since every beep and notification is a brief distraction.
  • Try experimenting with the way you present your food on the plate. You can add garnishes or put special care into the arrangement.

Appreciating the Food You Eat

Perhaps the real reward of mindful cooking is the opportunity to enjoy your hard work. You can practice mindfulness during this time, too. Shut off all the distractions from your dining space — especially the TV — and allow yourself to savor the first bite and each one that follows. Breathe through your nostrils as you chew and see if you can identify all the ingredients mingling together.

The right seasonings can enhance the whole experience. We offer several soy sauce varieties to add a richer taste. Our Tamari Soy Sauce contains hundreds of distinct flavor components, ranging from acidity to sweetness and umami, a unique characteristic.

Check out Soy Sauce 101 to learn more about Tamari's history and how its brewing process lends to its balance. For more tips on connecting food to your lifestyle, read through our blog.