Yesterday, I learned to make ghee.
At a private Ayurvedic cooking lesson with local chef Kate Smith, I learned to use my senses in cooking. We heard the rain-like pitter-patter of the butter melting and turning golden. The silence was beautiful; I got to experience the process of creating nourishing food without the rush and chatter of the world around me on overdrive.
It’s something I knew on some level many years ago, when I lived in New York. Back then my roommate Lydia and I would trudge through midtown Manhattan from work toward our high-rise apartment. Tired and worn, we shed our work clothes, turned on soothing jazz tunes and began creating something from the ingredients in our kitchen.
That was when I fell in love with cooking because it was the only thing in life I could not rush through. Creating something with flavor and taste, with nourishing nutrients and soothing textures, takes time. You cannot rush it if you want it done right. You have to go along for the ride and just BE while the ingredients come together to form something altogether new and whole and satisfying.
Kate put words to this practice, calling the art of Ayurvedic cooking a sadhana, or practice. She described the ritual of cooking in this manner as something that is sensory-commanding and soul-soothing.
It’s different when you look at food as having the power to heal your every ailment – from the physical to the emotional. It’s not about burying yourself in the sweetness of a piece of cake after a tough emotional interaction. It’s about seeing food differently, as having power to connect to the soul, to keep you in balance.
So apparently, there is now a rash of flu cases, with hospitals and doctor offices overflowing with sick patients. And all this at a time when more and more people are getting the flu shot. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
I’ve never believed that a single poke in the arm with a vaccine or a prescribed pill popped at intervals throughout your day will keep you healthy. While we need modern medicine in its right place, we are too quick to think there is an easy salve for whatever ails us.
Especially because so much of our illnesses have to do with un-ease (think: disease = dis-ease) in our lives.
Perhaps if we were more pro-active in the way we eat and live and move about our days, we might not fall sick quite so easily or often.