The joy of cooking

Thursday was the first time in six years that I hosted Thanksgiving. While I didn’t exactly enjoy the requisite house-cleaning-for-guests, I did quite enjoy the actual menu planning, food shopping and cooking.
While there’s a was lot of advance prep, and still much to be done on the big day, I chose recipes I had made before, to avoid the stress of testing new recipes for holiday guests. Armed with relatively familiar recipes, I was able to settle into the chopping, sautéing and baking, and was reminded of how deeply satisfying cooking can be when I don’t have a million urgent deadlines filling my brain and demanding my attention! 
I cleared the slate Wednesday so I could be in the cooking zone, and it reiterated one of the core mindfulness teachings: Mindfulness can happen anywhere. It’s not about having a formal meditation practice. While I have felt the benefits of formal practice, being able to immerse yourself in a task, whether it be walking in nature, cooking or washing dishes, gives your brain a rest from all the thoughts and stimulation it copes with each day.
In the case of cooking, Thanksgiving reminded me of the joy of nourishing others with the fruits of my labor. Even when cooking for one, taking the time to prepare even a simple meal is an act of deep nourishment and self-care. I’ve taken over more of the cooking the last few months, as I’ve been less busy, but I haven’t done a lot of proper pull-out-the-cookbooks-and-follow-a-recipe cooking. I look forward to resuming that action within the next few weeks!