Living Into the Flowing Activity of Life
Excerpt from Cooking for the Love of the World: Awakening Our Spirituality Through Cooking.
by Anne-Marie Fryer Wiboltt
We cook with many different vegetables, fruits, seeds and grains and may wonder which part of each plant we are working with. We can begin by laying them out on a table in a circle resembling the development of the archetypal plant; seeds on the far left and right, edible flowers in the upper middle and roots on the lower part of the table. It is probably easy to place the carrots, pumpkin seeds and leafy greens, but where does the onion go? Many vegetable plants have been cultivated to hold back a natural process or swell certain parts. Could the onion be a swollen stalk? The green broccoli looks like a bouquet of little buds just days before they set flowers.
The cauliflower is white and hard, is it a flower? The big, round firm cabbage may be a bud or leafy greens held back from flowering. The snow peas in their pods seem to be more like fruits than fresh seeds. Scallions look like contracted slender leaves. But what about potatoes, are they roots or thickened stems? What parts of the plants are the watery cucumber and the peculiar little Brussels sprouts growing on the stem at the foot of each leaf?
After laying all the vegetables on the table, compare the vegetables to one another and observe what forces and growth processes were most active in each one. The earthly forces are so dominant in the carrots. Yet we can sense some flowery qualities in the orange color. When we compared the carrot to the burdock root we experience the much stronger earthly quality in the burdock.
When comparing the vegetables to one another we can go a step deeper and inwardly open ourselves to the activities and processes that created the foods.
Within inner silence, create a living, detailed image of leafy green kale. When totally present to the growth processes of the leafy kale feel the growing, spreading, drawing upwards and outward reaching movement of the leaves. Like the leaves, sense a quiet conversation with cosmic warmth and light. Stay with this feeling a while. In place of the leafy green kale now create a living image of a parsnip and experience how these roots are of the cool, moist, dark soil.
Feel how the parsnip is drawn down, ever deeper as it becomes sweeter, stronger and heavier with matter. When we live into these processes, the musicality, wisdom and intensity of the gestures of each vegetable will be able to express themselves. We experience deeply the inner qualities of growth and maturing and sense what is coming to be.
No longer will we just see a carrot or any other food as a thing, but we will see and really feel the beauty of the wisdom within this food, how it came into being and how we can continue the creative process in the kitchen. Seeing in this way is a living way of seeing; it is seeing with much more than what meets the eyes. Every time we work in the kitchen we can encourage this way of seeing and observe a genuine feeling of reverence, wonder and enthusiasm.
We can create an imagination of the metamorphosing creative forces and experience a wisdom-filled world with all its rhythms and expanding and condensing forces. Soon we will begin to notice how these same forces are active within our own pots and pans.
In later chapters we will discover how different cutting and cooking styles soften or harden, expand and contract, elevate or densify, and relax or strengthen the food as we prepare the different dishes. Cooking is essentially an ethereal process, a continuation of the creative processes in nature.
When we experience food and cooking in this manner we attend to the flowing activity of life itself. With practice we begin to sense these same forces within ourselves. Gradually we will develop a reverent feeling of being within what has not yet come into form, what is forming. Perhaps for a moment we will feel at one with these invisible active forces and the wisdom permeating this ever-changing world.
Green Arugula Salad with Sweet Vinegar Miso Dressing
Lettuce is abundant in spring as it grows best in cool weather. Arugulais now a common herb in the produce section. It has a distinctive flavor, and is often served with smoked meat or sharp cheese. The dressing is made with a delicious light miso and raw honey.
1/2 head of lettuce
1 cup arugula, cut into bite size pieces
Rinse and dry the lettuce. Tear or cut in smaller pieces. Mix lettuce with arugula and place in individual serving bowls.
Sweet Vinegar Miso Dressing
1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Mix miso, honey, mustard and sea salt well, stir in water and lastly add oil. Before serving, pour 1 1/2 tablespoons of dressing over each bowl of lettuce.