Eating Well: The Aesthetic Experience and Emotional Fulfillment
Often, it seems that our lives are filled with mundane tasks, constituting a sequence of rehearsed and routinized events. We wake up, get ready for school or work, spend a large portion of our day engaged in intellectual or physical labor, and then we spend our nights freely and leisurely. Every day: same routine. With infinite repetition, we grow accustomed to the flow and course of our lives, ceasing to notice how we go about accomplishing our daily tasks. They become mechanized, performed involuntarily. Consequently, the mundane replaces the magical, and we start to lose sight of the wonder, surrounding every fragment of our daily experience.
Take eating as an example. Undoubtedly, it represents an essential and necessary task. We need food to sustain ourselves. However, immersed in our daily routine, we often perform this important task of nourishment with characteristic nonchalance, even neglect. Sometimes we turn to the more accessible choices, opting for convenience rather than health, and, other times, we do not focus on the act of eating itself, combining it with other activities, like reading or watching television. The original and holistic function of eating gets lost through the mechanization of the act. As a result, we do not experience the act fully and we struggle to attain the emotional satisfaction, which accompanies physical nourishment.
The realm of food is vast, vivid, and multi-faceted. There are many categories of food and there are various shapes, sizes and colors. Each food item has a unique taste and smell. We have a rich abundance at our disposal. Every meal could be a new adventure, both aesthetic and olfactory. If you think about it, eating is an art form. We start with unpolished materials, unwashed, uncooked, unseasoned, and we refine them, transforming them into aesthetic products; chopping, skinning, marinating, grilling and boiling, we make food into art. Like an artist drawing a portrait, sketching out every detail, we strip away any deformities and imperfections, creating a work of symmetry and proportion. The act of preparing food is an artistic labor and an aesthetic experience.
When we opt for convenience and choose prepackaged food options, like frozen dinners or canned goods, we ultimately miss out on this act of artistic creation. Consequently, we fail to give the food we consume a personal touch. It becomes a distant task, devoid of enjoyment and effort. Mimicking the original act of cooking with mechanical reproduction, like heating up a quick dinner of steak and mashed potatoes in the microwave, we distance ourselves from potential artistic fulfillment. We deny ourselves a sense of pride and personal accomplishment. Ultimately, we struggle to reap the benefits of a healthy and well-balanced meal, which surpass curbing of appetite.
Eating well is also a spiritual rejuvenation. It goes beyond mere nourishment and satisfaction of hunger. The food we eat can affect our emotional well-being and bring us happiness. Chosen thoughtfully and carefully prepared, the food becomes a transformative vehicle. It gives us control and security; it reassures us of our health and vitality. When we imbue the food we eat with a personal touch and take time to make it a work of art, we turn a mundane task into creative endeavor, capable of changing our emotional state. The fluid movement of washing, cutting, assembling calms our senses and inspires spiritual harmony. Led by deft and rhythmic beats, we consciously transcend the soulless mechanics and tediousness of the task . Free to choose from diverse and colorful plenitude, we make the task extremely personal, aligned to our individual preferences and inclinations. It is our artistic creation; it belongs to us. The final product is what gives us joy and fulfillment. Sitting down at a table with a well-cooked meal, savoring it with each bite, we , like the accomplished artist, reap spiritual rewards.