New Normal//

Cooking for Calm

Why are so many homecooks donning the apron and bustling about in the kitchen during the pandemic? Yes, it helps to de-stress.

Photo by DapurMelodi/ Pexels
Photo by DapurMelodi/ Pexels

“The kitchen is the alchemy of love.”

Guy de Maupassant

We are all going through uncertain and unprecedented times and that has given a lot of us this unsettled feeling. But remember, you’re not alone. So while we can’t predict for how long we’ll be in this situation, we can certainly look after our mental well-being. How? By keeping ourselves and our brain healthy, happy and occupied. Do things that you love and find happiness in. 

Sharing with you all a taste of my therapy and how I find my calm in the art called cooking.

Cooking has always been close to my heart and I often joke with my husband about opening a highway-style Dhaba or a cafe or just a food truck (someday maybe I will). I love cooking food for my friends and family. To me, it’s the best form of expression and incredibly rewarding as an experience. Cooking does not just give me satisfaction, but validation too, although I cook mostly for the former.

It’s a great stress reliever, nourishes our psychological well-being, and there’s tremendous learning attached to it.

It’s art from the heart

Cooking is a combination of art, planning, knowledge, techniques, and encourages your creative fluids like nothing else. You don’t just plan for the groceries, but while at it, every step is planned and set in your head. At the same time, it’s about following your heart more than a recipe. 

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” -Thomas Keller

Sense it right

It aids our sensory nervous system like none other. It’s one of those activities that involve all the senses. All our five senses remain active throughout the whole process, right until the end. Sight, hearing, touch, and ofcourse, smell and taste—all set in motion during this labour. 

The cycle repeats itself when we eat. 

All about concentration and patience

Cooking boosts your power to concentrate. It’s like meditation, you have to focus on every task at hand, patiently. A fine change in the ingredients, a change in the order, or in the proportion, makes all the difference. Good taste comes with a patience test too! 

Creative way to deal with problems

The process allows you to make mistakes, it makes you try all permutations and combinations to fix your dish, thus, improving your problem-solving skills too.  

Freedom to be creative 

There’s so much room for creativity, innovation, variation, and you don’t need a client’s approval for this! Make anything you like, cook everything your heart (and tummy) craves for. It’s like experiencing a potpourri of cultures. 

On that note, I am grateful for this lockdown, it has allowed me so much more time to experiment in the kitchen. This situation has brought out the master chefs in a lot of us. From burger to gathiya nu shaak, from caesar’s salad to rumali roti, from pasta to pani puri, samosas to momos, I made it all, so, FOMO no more (yeah, did that on purpose).

According to a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology, tasks like cooking made people feel more enthusiastic about things the next day. So, don’t let the pressure whistle out on you, find what calms you and cook your recipe to therapy! 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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