Friday, January 25, 2013

Food Rituals Part 1

We bow our heads in reverence. Giving thanks to the Creator, the Universe, the ones whose blood, sweat and tears, love and effort went into the the growing and preparation of this food. We come together as community, as family, united within ourselves to recognize the rituals, the ceremonies both formal and informal that have culminated in us being able to nourish our bodies with the abundance of nature. Recognizing that as we give thanks, as we observe these rituals we are continuing on in traditions shared all over the world honoring the sacred nature of food.

Within systems of modernity, most often meals are prepared from people we don't know or have any connection with at all. Whereas we are appreciative of the effort and work put forth by the many Chefs and food servers within our society, it is with an understanding that today's service practices limit opportunity for a spirit enriching, ritualistic and nourishing experience for the ones preparing and serving our food. What can be said of the real quality of our food (aside from taste and aesthetics) which is prepared in highly stressful, confined rooms, with little ventilation, extreme conditions and no view or connection to the natural world? How much more creative, inspired, and nourishing would our food be, if the preparers had Stress-free, open environments? How about if we actually had some level of relating with our Chefs and the foods prepared?

I recently read in The Huffington Post an article on the top 10 occupations that psychopaths are drawn to, Chefs was number nine. In an entertainment based society that is now pushing the food industry and its arts to be competive sport, fueled by personalities, how much more will this draw an undercurrent of unstable, misdirected energy to the art and ritual of how we all nourish ourselves? Of course we all, even myself enjoy the experience of going out from time to time, not having to cook, being served and tasting other's creative expressions. In that I do not suggest to totally disengage ourselves from the food service industry or to detach ourselves from this art and service. What I choose to reflect upon is taking out time and space to honor the many food rituals and their significance that have kept our cultures and families moving for centuries.

Remembering the rituals your families have around food. Be it women coming together to harvest, wash and prepare meals. The sorting of grains, the washing of greens. All the many conversations,and celebrations, ceremonies recognized in the midst of these activities. Men coming together in sport or seeming leisure and in the proces gathering food for their families. All the rituals and activities with food at the center that brought us to community and family. The time and spaces, the energy we shared, and how that all went into the food that was prepared and then in turn how that affected the taste, the quality, the healing and nurturing properties of the foods we ate. All that we consume we are. What does how our food is prepared or consume, say about us? Love.

My Kitchen Sounds Like "Set-Up Shop" by Damian Marley