Sharpening Knives

To those who have been reading this blog for a while, it should be no surprise that one of the sources for my Inspiration is the Food Network show Chopped. This week my inspiration began with the story of one chef, Nathaniel Zimet of Boucherie, who shared with the judges how he had been shot three times about ten months prior and his journey to recovery. While his story of recovery was inspiring, what was humbling was to hear him speak with such compassion about the man who shot him. His understanding that the man who shot him had to have been in extreme pain in order to shoot him as he did was a powerful illustration of compassion. It reminded me of a YouTube video of the father of one of the young girls who had been murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School recently and his compassion for all those who were grieving and for the family and friends of the man who had killed all these people. Having just blogged about compassion the other day, his attitude and story resonated with my soul.
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An artist’s kitchen

Cooking for me, as it is for many foodies and chefs, is a form of art. Others may use pastels, oils, acrylics, etc. I paint with words in my blogs and writings and with food when I am cooking. Even when something looks simple, like tomato soup, I want people to appreciate the layers of flavor, which are beneath that red silky appearance. I have come to realize how important a few things are for me to be present in my studio and what facilitates my being in the state of flow, or optimal experience, and what can throw me out of it. One thing, for example, is not being able to find the spice or other ingredient I need at a crucial moment.
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Cooking can be a spiritual experience.

While I realize that for some people cooking can be a stressful experience, for me it is a spiritual experience. As I have read the stories of so many chefs, those well known (i.e. celebrity chefs) and those who most of us have never heard of, I have come to realize that for all too many people food saved their lives. Food, for so many chefs, is not just food. It has become the vehicle through which they found a deeper relationship with themselves, with their Higher Power, and with others. Food for them, and the preparation of it, is a spiritual experience. Cooking for me is like that as well. There are so many ways in which food and the preparation of it is spiritual. Recently, I read a quote by Heather Ash Amara who wrote “When we live our life as art we make room for creativity, flow, connection, synchronicity, and magic.”
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Getting Back In the Zone

For the last few weeks, I have been going through this challenging time with my cooking. It is not that I have not been cooking, I have. However, since Zoë and I made the decision to eat healthier, focusing on whole foods and those lower in the glycemic index, I have found myself going through this time of doubt. Where I had once felt free to be inventive and creative in the kitchen, I all of a sudden found myself feeling pulled back into a world where I wanted to be assured by a recipe. So much of Western culture is about having a recipe in front of you that tells you how to do something. This how to approach to cooking takes all the creativity out of it. I have been so de-inspired that last week, I didn’t even feel as if I had anything to say. Had I been on one of the TV cooking competitions, it would have been one of those bad meal kind of days. My soul was just not in my cooking.
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Going with the flow

For the last few weeks, well four now, I have been on this spiritual writing adventure. One of the techniques we have been using is called streaming. It is literally just writing from your stream of consciousness, letting the ideas flow through you like water through a creek bed. This whole notion of streaming has reminded me of a quote by Chuang Tsu, who wrote, “flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” Over the last few weeks, this whole notion of going with the flow has kept appearing in my life.
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