Cooking: The New Meditation For Creators and Makers

October 30, 2015, In: Food & Wine, SAVOR, Work/Life
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I love the idea of meditation: it sounds zen, clean, something the better me should do. So I found a way to meditate and fall asleep at the same time: true multi-tasking, no? I simply mentally ignore the soothing voice on the Headspace app when it mentions “sitting upright,” because of course to sleep and meditate at the same time you need to be lying down.

My name is Rachel, and I am Type A.

And that’s why instead of belaboring my utter lack of meditation aptitude, I head to the kitchen when the day feels like an exhilarating, out of control spiral. A pile of vegetables to chop is my signal to disconnect from the tech and demands of running a business, and plug into the moment: it is physically impossible to dice an onion and skim email at the same time. That’s why I especially like recipes that get your hands messy: when you’re massaging a lemony kale salad, balling up meatballs or shaping chocolate ganache into truffles, there’s not even an option to respond to the Siren’s call of a new text message.

And while I chop, I breathe. Breathe in, breathe out. Knife down, knife up. Thoughts flow in, thoughts flow out.

As the jumble of kale, onions, and potatoes turn into neatly diced piles, with a tangible finish in sight, I begin to breathe easier. My mind sticks neatly to the point: fingers away from the knife, move the slice, position for the next cut.

And then we’re on to heat, sautéing and flipping the bounty and delighting in the warm, toasty scent of caramelizing onions. There is nothing else to think about right now: fire and heat are powerful allies, but they do want all my attention. I add a steak to another pan and my thoughts center on this exact moment, this exact stove.

I pour a glass of wine, and for the first time in 30 minutes think about my inbox. But now I’m feeling in control again: ready for creative ideas and calm answers. I’ll take this kind of meditation. And the best part: dinner’s made. How’s that for multi-tasking?

A former O, The Oprah Magazine food editor, Rachel caught the entrepreneurial itch while writing Cooking Up a Business (Penguin) and now is the co-founder of guesterly and PR School. Follow her food and entrepreneurial adventures on Instagram: @rachelhoffy1. Photo by Brigette Muller.

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