Why it is important to keep your thoughts in check while cooking - a lesson that my mother taught me.
In my household cooking was always considered as a scared function. Our kitchen was small however super organised and very clean. We had a small shrine in the kitchen and my mom and dad would after early morning shower would do their prayers and then start the day.
Growing up I have always seen my mother shower at the crack of the dawn, adorn a simple saree, quickly groom herself and pray in the front of the shrine. Come rain or shine this was her routine. After prayers, she would once again clean the kitchen - although she would clean every night before going to bet, yet she would cleanse the kitchen and start cooking.
I was always fascinated with meticulousness she followed, she was like this goddess and as if she had 10 hands making so many dishes at once. While cooking she always murmured something in a beautiful tone. One day I gathered enough guts and asked her if she was taking out her anger on all of us - as she was blessed with 5 children apart of looking after us, she was the right hand to my father helping him with the preparation and cooking dishes for the catering business.
She smiled at me and said she was reciting religious hymns taught by her mother. Surprised I asked why she would recite them specially when cooking. She explained that mind is like a monkey, jumps from one thought to another, and usually lands up in a sad thought which makes one sad. Therefore, it is important that the mind is kept occupied in a good way and her way of doing this was by reciting the religious hymns. She said it kept her focused and helped her always remember that she is creating food for her loved ones and that it should not only fill the stomach but also nourish the soul and mind.
That day I felt as if I have found this treasure that I will cherish all my life. My way of being organized is I line up everything I need to make the dish, prepare all the chopping, lay out the spices needed switch on my favorite songs and start cooking. This has helped me stay focus while cooking and enjoy the process.
Although I learnt so many things from my mother and father, what is relevant here is also the need to put back everything that you take from the cupboards back as it saves lots of time wrapping up the kitchen at the end of the day.
Did you know when you are cooking and look for something that needs to go into the dish and you can't find it, you know the dishes is cooking along and that it is important you find it but when you dont, you get upset and you turn to the food and your anger continues to dominate your thoughts as you cook along. Every bit of the anger that is in your thoughts gets truncated into the food you are cooking, needless to say those savouring it get a piece of it!
So be careful and mindful and stay in check with your thoughts and continue to cook food that not fills the stomach of your loved one but also nourishes their soul and mind.
I dedicate this blog to my beloved mother - amma who remains to be my role model and my annapoorni.