What does cooking mean to me?
I believe cooking is a trial and error method for those who want to learn this skill or art, especially for beginners. And I guess this method is applicable to all people including great renowned chefs. Many people have portrayed cooking as an artistic skill and I totally agree with that. But if you ask me cooking plain rice with lentils is something any layman can do and doesn’t require that much creativity apart from knowing the cooking process and method. Hence, I consider cooking as a mundane task because the process is repetitive yet you can definitely make it a joyful, creative, experimentative, meditative, and a blissful experience on a daily basis.
Overall cooking has three main stages:
Taking the first two points combined together- ingredients and recipes are more or less the same for all the dishes. However, the key differentiating point here is the method/process which varies from individual to individual and that’s where your hidden creativity or ideas flows in. Some people have that innate talent for cooking as they are innovative and imaginative whereas other people have an exceptional ability to learn from various sources that includes their family members, friends, cooking shows and many other diverse resources. In fact, while growing up I have seen and observed some of the kids were so enthusiastic that they go and assist their mothers in the kitchen in whichever way possible at the time of cooking. This is the time when a child develops an interest towards cooking or being in the kitchen itself and gaining firsthand experience from their mothers.
My experience of cooking full meal with the wellness community:
Ah! It was a joyful experience to learn and cook online. Although, cooking classes are best experienced in person and hands-on however cooking alongside with live instructions online was totally a different experience altogether. I had thoroughly enjoyed cooking a few recipes with my wellness community and my wonderful teacher, Ananta. I got stuck in the beginning as some spices got burnt but I let it go and continued with enthusiasm without affecting my mood and energy. And that’s where I believe mindfulness and awareness come into the picture. You have to let certain things go in order to move forward and that's why cooking is a trial and error method until you get the right technique.
Lately, I have started cooking and developed an interest in it although not on a regular basis. I have learned during my stay at the ashram in India about cooking consciously and cooking with love. If you become more aware of how you are cooking and what type of energy is going in the process of cooking then you will be very attentive to details and nitty-gritty of the cooking methods. In fact, you can also make the whole cooking process and food auspicious by chanting any of your favorite mantra and lighting a lamp/diya at the time of cooking as it helps you to be more focused and mindful.
What can you learn from cooking? Or What can cooking teach you?
Patience: If you are a short-tempered person and have a tendency to get agitated quickly, then cooking especially if you are cooking from your heart, with love and prayers you can really learn a great deal of patience.
Decorating: You can also incorporate crafty skills and ideas in order to make your recipes and plating in a more appealing manner.
Skillful observation: This is quite tricky as it requires a sharp mind, focus, attention and concentration and if you possess that you can learn cooking very quickly.
Knowledge: Cooking involves so many ingredients and each ingredient has so many benefits which you might not know so definitely you can gain lots of information and insights while learning this beautiful art.
Why you should develop an interest or love for cooking? Or How can you develop an interest in cooking?
Well, there are no specific rules per se for developing an interest in cooking. However, if you are a creative person who loves experimenting with food, relishes different types of food, and like to be surrounded by fresh veggies, spices, oils, and other food items including lots of kitchen utensils then you might develop an interest slowly and gradually. In fact, many people develop this skill in order to survive when they are living independently away from home and specifically if they prefer home-cooked food. It totally depends and varies from person-to-person their interest in cooking as sometimes circumstances become tough and sometimes interest flows in from all the doorways. Developing an interest in cooking is not as easy as it seems it really requires that first step initiative, constant efforts and a keen desire to learn. And life gives that opportunity to everybody at some point and it's on you how you utilize that opportunity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ESHITA DAYANI is a yoga instructor and her approach of teaching yoga, meditation and pranayama is traditional and holistic bringing a meaningful connection with body, mind, and soul. She has spent around 6 years working in different roles with one of the leading B-Schools in India, IIMA, and had volunteered in many educational, healthcare, and sustainable events. At present, she is working in an Edutech sector as a Business Development Manager besides pursuing her goals of learning Ayurveda, Spiritual Wisdom, and Vedanta Philosophy. She is an aspiring Ayurveda Practitioner as well as a Wellness Consultant in The Ancient Way's Wellness Ambassador Program. She has a strong conviction that yoga can truly bring huge self-transformation in anyone’s life if practiced in a disciplined manner. She believes that health is a significant asset which is the primary reason for her to encourage this ancient and Ayurvedic lifestyle for personal and physical growth, mental well-being, and being in harmony with your spirit and nature.