Several religions, including Catholicism, Hinduism, and Umbanda, recognize in food and food a spiritual relationship and communion with life, with equals and with the divine.
In Umbanda as in Candomblé, it is understood that in the relationship of plants and animals to the various forces of nature to which they are subject and on which they depend to develop and grow, some of the strength of these climatic elements and geophysical events is stored in the vegetable/animal that interacts with it.
Cornstalk is exposed to rain, sun, wind, soil, and removes the nutrients it needs to grow from its relationship. This nutrient is accumulated inside and when we consume it we are taking for ourselves the nutrient that was made by the plant.
Leia aqui em português!!!
In the view of these religions, this would have some relation to higher powers in a give and receive relationship and would result in gratitude for the food received and the request for the food needed in the future.
More than that, the process of preparing this food for proper human and divine consumption could fuse these nutrients with others, transforming their flavor and enhancing their nutritional and flavor qualities.
For some, the relationship of the hand and the body, which manipulate the preparation of these foods for the better elaboration of nutritional consumption, would have a direct effect on the nourishing power of the food prepared there. This would be directly influenced by the emotions present in the mind and emotional expression of the food handler.
Anyway, without nerds stuff and complications: when you cook with love, the food becomes more delicious. And this doesn’t seem to be just a food hype, the Yoruba, the Indus, the Buddhists, the Christians, the Jews, and the Muslims, they all have some kind of relationship between their religion and the eating processes (not to mention eating rituals), diets, abstentions, deliveries, reservations …
Foucault would talk about the control of bodies and wills, but Foucault is very annoying, only I like him, let’s talk about love.
So, given that in most contemporary civilizations, the full and well-laid table, the whole family together, the abundance of flavors, colors, smells, and dishes, seems to be the rule for adding, thanking, and perpetuating values, beliefs, and beliefs. and family and friendship love and yet to commune with the divine. It is easy to understand this relationship between cooking with love and strengthening ties.
In Curitiba (where I came from), socializing is the same as eating. Barbecue, pizza, hot dogs, pasta or at least a popcorn at the cinema. In Curitiba, you are not invited to come home without offering a coffee (with or without milk, sugar or sweetener, maybe a tea, have a great cookie, want? Want something to pinch?). It is as if the food, with its magical powers brought from the kitchen, would ensure the good mediation of interpersonal relations and the bliss of the guest and host.
And that’s right.
People who eat together develop bonds of complicity and friendship that transcend pre-established relational contracts. Literally, when you go to Happy Hour with your colleagues and have a beer sharing the french fries, you become a little friendlier each time. French fries have an alloy that broadens these ties.
So, likewise, Sunday lunches, which, often filled with conflict, confined within themselves a whole ritual of approaching loved ones. This ritual often begins mid-week with the menu definition and ingredient purchase and ends on Sunday with the fight for the dishes. In general, the family matriarch, already on Saturday night, begins the initial preparations, marinating or pre-cooking some dishes.
I remember my first mother-in-law, Celia.
Besides a very nice and sympathetic figure, she cooked with her soul. She often spent the entire week planning what to cook for her grandchildren. She use to generated constant announcements throughout the week, raising expectations for my daughter (and me, too, gained 22 pounds in the first two years of this marriage, much of it on Sunday lunch). She would start slicing the onions and garlic at 7 am and at least once a month she cooked tomatoes on Saturday so she could make peeled tomatoes for Sunday sauce.
Dedication and motivation from those who transcend simple food preparation and attain a kind of virtuosity, fullness in the activity performed that carries almost a meditative aspect in itself.
A dedication and commitment that reflects a huge and effective self-investment in the group of people around. As if, every minute stirring the food being prepared, it was another minute when the “love seasonings” could come out and marinate what is being prepared.
This investment is no different from the investment made by the mother-of-saint, the monk, the shaman. During the process of cooking, the delight of those who enjoy the dish (whether a god or grandson) becomes mental, will be minted illustrating the surprising shock that will be experienced by those who eat the delicacy. During preparation, groping and scheduling the reception of the love and gratitude invested in cooking on the face after the first bite.
Just as the saint-mother who asks her initiates “looks great, right?”, Celia would stop at the corner of the table after placing the last dish on the well-laid table ans ask “and then? What did you think? Measuring how impressed they are, or will be, the consumers of prepared foods. As if asking, “Do you realize how much love? Do you realize how much gratitude? Imagine when you bite it!!! ”
My current mother-in-law doesn’t cook but prepares an afternoon coffee. Know the best ham in the region, she selects the most beautiful pieces of bread, she knows the best bakers in your region. She invests that same affection and this same love. Finally, she has the same intention invested in the meal, in this case, not prepared, but organized.
The intention is to put the collective close to them.
And the lesson brought by religions is that food has the power to manipulate the gods, food has the power to purify the body to paradise, food prepares for prayer, food … has magical powers.
And if for religions the food has magical powers, imagine for a family, for friends, for colleagues, gathered around a meal to fraternize about life.
The power of these gatherings is so great that the entire family sagas of 3 or 4 generations of a family can be decided on Sunday lunches. Millionaire contracts are decided at business dinners. Weddings are offered, accepted and denied by candlelight (which are placed on the dining table).
Between my weddings, I learned to cook.
I cook the basics very well done, nothing surprising. But with the little I do, I can keep the little family together from Monday to Friday for lunch table. Often, on Sundays, I can bring more people and, at home, piloting the stove with this idea of love and gratitude, I can make the family team happy.
For those who are following my family adventure here in Switzerland, in that other blog, this week I said goodbye to McDonald’s. I start Monday, September 23, at a restaurant in Zürich. I’m going to work as a Chef Davide’s kitchen assistant.
Cooking, besides taking the gods, brings the family together, still opens doors!!