Kitchen Witchery: Ways to Be Mindful While Cooking
What Does It Mean to Be Mindful?
Kitchen witchery encourages living life consciously and mindfully. In addition to generating a sense of calm, bringing your practice into the kitchen can be a great way to learn how to focus your intent on the solutions and goals that you wish to achieve. Carrying out your day-to-day activities with mindfulness helps you become more aware of everything that is happening around you; this helps you to more easily connect or disconnect as needed. In this article, we will cover 10 ways to bring mindfulness into the kitchen.
10 Ways to Be Mindful in the Kitchen
- Be intentional about what you choose to prepare.
- Create your own recipes.
- Select ingredients that speak to you and your practice.
- Use verbal incantations.
- Focus on the present moment.
- Remove food waste.
- Create a relaxing kitchen environment.
- Balance your energy.
Mindfulness doesn’t necessarily change the things you do, but it does change the way you go about them and in what mindset. Mindfulness is a skill that can take some time to develop but can bring great benefits to your life. It involves making a conscious effort to notice what is happening in your mind, body and surrounding environment at that moment in time. Practicing mindfulness can be helpful in managing well-being and creating more self-awareness, positive behaviour, thoughts and interactions.
Mindfulness can also help you to cope with any difficult or negative feelings—it reminds you that you always get to choose how to respond to things and that you are not required to react in the same way you usually do. The things we think about and how we perceive them can have an effect on how we feel and act. For example, if you are often worried about the future (e.g. How will we pay our bills? Will I pass my exams?), you will likely feel stressed, anxious and tired quite often. When you feel calm, positive or happy, however, this energy is likely to carry over into how you feel and react to people and your daily tasks.
What Is Mindful Cooking?
The preparation of food is an important part of kitchen witchcraft and an excellent opportunity to practice mindfulness. Mindful cooking can help you develop an attitude of gratitude towards food and presents an opportunity to infuse the ingredients and finished meal with your energy and magical intent. Every little action—from chopping herbs to stirring to serving the meal to loved ones—can be imbued with magic and intention. Remaining mindful while cooking reminds you to consider every aspect of the cooking process—not just the ingredients and/or recipe. For example, you can practice noticing the elements that are present as you cook or allow yourself to be fully present during the process of cleaning up after the cooking and meal are finished. The tasks of cleaning the oven or washing dishes can be thought of as purifying or cleansing processes that are just as important as the creation of your magical recipes.
Another aspect of mindful cooking is to consider the ethics, energy and values around what you are eating. Do they match your general attitude and values, and if not, what can you do to create balance here? This aspect of kitchen witchcraft can vary greatly from witch to witch with some choosing to follow a specific way of eating (such as becoming vegetarian or vegan) or shopping in bulk stores to help cut down on packaging waste. The energy of each ingredient you use will be part of the finished dish and will be energetically absorbed by your body as you eat. For many witches, this is important in relation to maintaining health and well-being on all levels. Some other factors you may wish to consider include:
- Where has the ingredient come from?
- How was it raised or grown?
- Does it come with a lot of non-recyclable packaging?
- Did it have to travel a long way to get to you?
10 Mindful Kitchen Practices
- Being intentional about what you choose to prepare. Take time to match the type of food you prepare to your magical intent. For example, a soothing soup is a good choice for a healing meal. Heart-shaped biscuits or cakes are good for spreading love.
- Creating your own recipes. Developing your own meals can be a great way to focus on your intent even before the cooking process starts. Think about the correspondences of the ingredients used and how these fit into your magical goals. You may like to start with familiar or favourite recipes and adapt them to suit your needs.
- Using ingredients that resonate with you. When using pre-existing recipes, you may be able to substitute ingredients to make them more suited to your needs. For example, you can always swap out herbs used in recipes or use meat-free replacements for sausages, burgers, minced meat etc.
- Stirring. Remember to stir according to your intent—deosil (clockwise) for luck, good intentions and attracting things toward you and widdershins (anticlockwise) to remove or ward off negativity and bad luck. Stirring widdershins is considered to be bad luck by many people.
- Using verbal incantations. Chants, spells or charms can be spoken over the food during any stage of its preparation, cooking and serving.
- Focusing on the present moment. By focusing only on the task that you are performing—and not allowing yourself to be distracted by thoughts or worries about the past or future—you are cultivating a mindful space in your kitchen.
- Sweeping up the kitchen. When sweeping, visualise negative and stale energy being gathered up and swept out.
- Removing food waste from the kitchen. Dispose of food scraps and leftovers mindfully. For example, composting vegetable peelings, egg shells, tea bags etc. is an intentional and mindful way to remove leftover parts of ingredients from your kitchen space.
- Creating a pleasant and relaxing kitchen environment. What this looks like varies from person to person and depends on what suits them. As a general guide, avoid anything that is overstimulating or distracting and organise the space well. For example, it might make the most sense for you to keep the ingredients you use most often within easy reach and to keep lesser used ingredients in your harder-to-get-to places. Avoid clutter on workspaces. For some people, incorporating plants, incense and candles into the kitchen space can be used if you find them beneficial.
- Balancing your energy. For some, cooking and cleaning can help when feeling unsettled, anxious, low or angry and can be great ways to rebalance your energy. However, it is important to be mindful that you may also run the risk of passing your anger or low feelings into the food and/or space when you bring this energy into your practice.
Simple Mindfulness Exercises
You do not need any special equipment to carry out the below exercises, but if you are new to mindfulness, it can be helpful to be in a quiet and calm place in order to limit distractions. With time and practice, it will become easier to be mindful no matter where you find yourself. Try to notice what thoughts you have and how they make you feel as they come and go. Also notice any information from your body, such as changes in your heartbeat, breathing or bodily tension.
Once you sit down to eat, take your time and pay attention to the taste, sight and texture of the food. Notice how the different foods feel in your mouth and any sensations and feelings that arise. Are the foods sweet or sour? Bland or flavourful? This exercise can also be done with drinks.
For this exercise, you will need to sit or lie down comfortably. Starting at either the top of your head or your toes, scan slowly through each part of your body. As you scan down, notice any sensations, tension, aches or pains that you feel. If you become distracted, do not worry—simply return to your scan and carry on where you left off.
Mindful Food Preparation
Remove as many distractions from the kitchen as possible—including mobile phones—and give your full attention to the task. If using your phone for a recipe, temporarily disable notifications or reception to help you focus. As you prepare your ingredients, focus on each with intention. Take in the sounds, smells and textures of each in both their raw forms and as they cook.
Choose an ingredient or tool from your kitchen. Focus on it completely for several minutes, noticing every detail of its design, colour and shape. Does it have any marks or wear from use? How does the energy of the item feel? How does it smell? For edible items, how does it taste?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Claire