What do you love most about summer?
One of my favourite things about summer is the incredible abundance that nature and local farmers provide, something new each week as the season unfolds. One of the easiest and tastiest ways we can practice abundance every single day is to fully notice, appreciate and enjoy the food that we eat.
Make it a daily celebration.
Have you been to a local farmers market this summer? Farmers markets abound, in cities and small towns. As I drive the country roads, I pass many roadside stands offering a bounty of flowers, fruit and vegetables. So it takes little effort to find fresh local produce, no matter where you live.
All this beautiful bounty is a truly wonderful opportunity to tune into all the sensations that are awakened as you gather, prepare, cook and eat your summer abundance. To be fully aware of all your senses. Simply pay attention to what you are experiencing and doing. Be aware of what you see, smell, touch, hear and taste.
Here are some ways you can practice mindfulness in the kitchen…and the possibilities are endless. Just notice and enjoy each sensation.
This is mindfulness. And you don’t need to be a chef to practice mindfulness in the kitchen. You can tune into your senses with something easy to make
- Notice the variety of colours and shapes and textures and weight of each fruit and vegetable you see and choose. For example, not just green, but so many shades of green from the deepest blue-green of a lacinato kale to the most subtle white-green of a new onion.
- Drink in the incredible scent of sun-ripened tomatoes fresh from the fields.
- Feel the texture of each vegetable with your hands…the prickly tips of a fresh artichoke and the soft velvety peach.
- As you chop and cut your vegetables, notice the sounds and the scents your knife releases. Each vegetable so different.
- As you begin to cook and add each ingredient to the pan, notice the sounds and
sizzles of each one. Do they sound different? Can you describe the sound?
- And when you cook them, notice the glorious fragrances that fill your entire house.
The rich scentscape will change as you develop your dish.
- Of course the most fun is tasting...fresh from the market, as you chop and prepare,
as you cook, and in the final dish. Take the time to really savour and notice the tastes.
- Notice the different textures in your mouth, the difference between the various fruits
and vegetables, the difference between the same one raw and cooked.
, like these three simple preparations that are a celebration of summer abundance:
- Slice a tomato onto a place, add fresh basil leaves, salt and freshly ground pepper, the best extra virgin olive oil you can find.
- Prepare a beautiful bowl of fresh summer berries, add a sprig of mint, a tiny sprinkle of sugar, some greek yogurt or cream (whatever your pleasure).
- Take as many vegetables, greens and fresh herbs as you can find in your fridge and garden and prepare a multi-colour, multi-texture salad. A simple olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing will be enough to showcase the tastes of summer.
Cooking is a daily mindfulness practice for me, a way to stay grounded and focused on my moment by moment experience. I’m extra careful about what we eat, because I want to know that all the ingredients are local, organic, super-fresh, and that everything is made by my hand.
The Saturday morning market is my favourite time of the week. I gather my market bounty onto my counter to admire the beauty that our farmers have created, fruits and vegetables nurtured from seeds to full harvest. Each week my beautiful bounty looks different and becomes a new array of dishes and preparations for our table and our freezer. It always unleashes my kitchen creativity.
If you like to cook with your summer abundance, please click this link to download HUM YUM, my 8 favourite summer recipes.
And even if you don’t consider yourself to be a “cook”, I invite you to bring more awareness into your kitchen.
And enjoy every moment!