A Mood Through Food

May 13, 2022

Hannah Koch

Stimulate your senses and create a calming experience in the kitchen!

Sound

When you think of cooking there can be many sounds that come into play. For some, when they think of cooking sounds they think of busy chaotic kitchen noises coming - pots and pans banging around, searching through drawers or cupboards to find the right tools, and frenzied movement. To find a calming correlation when in the kitchen forget the clanking of silverware and plates and focus your mind for a moment on the sizzling of food, the subtle chopping sound of a knife, or the rolling boil of water. Focus on one sound at a time, and you may notice that the sounds of the kitchen become more harmonious and peaceful. Acknowledge the artificial noises that are allowed during this time. If you must play music, strive for instrumental covers or something without lyrics. Try to find calm within the movement of cooking.

Touch
We are told from an early age not to play with our food. I urge you to throw that notion out and have a little fun and stimulate your senses by getting your hands dirty! A lot of stress release can come from the physical acts of squeezing, kneading, or compressing. If you are cooking for yourself there is no harm in touching your own food (just make sure your hands are clean first). There is appreciation and feelings of gratitude that can come from touching and admiring something that you have created with your own hands.

Smell
Take in the aroma! Aromatherapy for relieving stress has become exceedingly popular. Experiment and choose to cook with ingredients that bring positive or relaxing thoughts. Here are a few herbs and spices to try in the kitchen and the impacts of their aromas.

  • Stress Reducing: Lavender & Sage
  • Energizing: Orange & Rosemary
  • Revitalizing: Mint & Basil

Taste
The sensation of tasting food can release a multitude of emotions. It can tap into memories and conjure up different thoughts and ideas. This is also why it is important to be mindful of the food you choose to cook, especially if your goal is to reduce stress while cooking. When I think of the effects that taste has, this scene from Ratatouille comes to mind.

Sight
“A feast for the eyes” or “Eat with your eyes.” These are expressions that make the connection of how visualizing food can be as important as tasting. What we see tells a story and invokes emotions. That is why for stress reduction choose foods that are not strenuous to eat. Complex foods may include foods that need a multitude of tools or utensils to eat such as crab, lobster,
or foods with a shell that need prying. Take note of foods you try that are visually distressing. You don't have to force yourself to eat anything bony, slimy, gooey, stringy, or otherwise unpleasant to you! Something to look at are the colors used. View your plate as a work of art and try to see what kinds of palettes you can make with your food!

Focus on a more mindful cooking experience next time you're in the kitchen and note how it makes you feel. Paying attention to our sense and being present in whatever we are doing helps reduce stress - plus you'll come out of it with a delicious meal!

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