Throughout the training an understanding of energetic properties and contributions of the ingredients and cooking methods helps us know how to cook for the variety of season, ages, and activity of our lives.
Can the seed reproduce & How does it grow?
When I hold a seed, I see something very small. When I think of eating seeds as my primary food, I wonder how can this tiny thing fully nourish me both in satisfaction and nutrients.
Then I started a garden and planted a bean. It grew tall and bushy with tendrils taking over the low lying squash leaves. Then it started to reproduce. One seed gave me thirty pods. Each pod had five more seeds in them. I’ve given birth too, and the amount of energy it takes to reproduce is no small feat. The blueprint of seeds command my respect for their great power to reproduce and re-create. Four tiny seeds grew me enough kale to last a year. One stalk of millet could feed a dozen people.
Plant-based cuisine relies on the quality of soil in which seeds are nurtured. As seeds grow, they digest earth’s raw materials transforming them into a nutrients for earth’s people and animals. I’m always stunned with people ask if SNC uses organic ingredients. We have never considered anything else when the options are present. If a seed doesn’t sprout, it is probably genetically modified (GMO) or grown with stimulating chemicals pushing over production. When seeds are genetically modified, they do not reproduce. The creative force of reproduction is one core principle of energetic nutrition.
Where is the plant growing in relationship to air, water, earth, and fire? What are the characteristics of a seed that grows straight up and dow, vertically versus a seed that grows along the surface of the earth? How does this impact our cooking methods? Learning how a food grows and it’s anatomy is integral to being a natural cook.
Energetic Nutrition of Color, Taste, Smell
I’m drawn to the color of an orange, its shape and feel the weight of it’s hidden juice when I pick it up in my hand. Then I lift that round, orange, ball to my nose and inhale all the time hoping I only get the smell of “orange” and not chemicals. I’ve been known to sample a twig of parsley while shopping only to find the bitter fullness be repellent even through the flavor of parsley lingers sweetly. When I taste and smell during the cooking process, my body reads the energetic qualities of that combination. Do they work together? Do they contract me, expand me, make me relaxed or stimulated? I listen. The story for the day, the moment, may offer another story line another day. As flexible as the weather, the energetic properties fit me one day for one ingredient, which may not be the choice for another. Babies are like this as they begin to choose their first foods. Train them with incremental variety. They know what they need.
Energetic Nutrition of Ingredients and Cooking Methods
I discovered that Broccoli is a prima donna because it seems to me that she ruins any dish cooked with other vegetables. I discovered that if Broccoli is cooked alone first, then she can highlight other ingredients. Brasccias’s brassy, gassing off reminds me of the potency of a skunk’s spray when they feel threatened. Broccoli has another secret. Although the head is gorgeous flowers, the real nutrition is in the stalk. In order to gain access to this calcium rich vegetable, we need to remove the stalk’s skin. Broccoli is not the only vegetable that hides and protects the nutrients behind a skin, or hull. Celery is another personality that likes special treatment. Cooking with the whole food automatically transfers energetic nutrition.
The pressure cooker has been hailed as a time saving tool in the kitchen. And that it may be. But I like to think of the pressure cooker as a centering tool. Like when I work a ball of clay on the potter’s wheel. The force of energy it takes me to transfer a simple ball into a balanced clump that appears ready for transformation reminds me of what happens to the seeds in the pressure cockering method. The energy of fire, water, and air, compressing the ingredients so intensely that the process transforms the little grain and bean seeds. Previously undigestible, inedible, powerhouses are not only rendered digestible masses of nutritive power, but a satisfying texture that only comes from a pressure cooker.
Energetic Nutrition and Love
When I step into the kitchen, I like the ritual of putting on my apron. The apron strings around my waist signal me that alchemy is about to happen. Then I begin with just one ingredient and listen how to support this ingredient to become a satisfying dish. The lightness of being that ignites my creativity makes the dish delicious. Thousands of meals at my table have shown me that this kind of love is a powerful nutrient. Years have taught me its all about paying attention to the food as it goes through it’s transformation. If dishes are not prepared well, they can’t release their nutritional imprint, and if they don’t taste yummy, who will eat them enough to be healed by the satisfying ritual of healthy eating?