The spirituality of cooking
I ended my prayers this morning with a sincere, heart-centered “I love you” to God. As I inwardly spoke these words to Him/Her, I experienced them simultaneously spoken to me.
This union forms much the same way as a good Italian gravy (sauce) is formed.
The outer tough onion skins are peeled away. The hard onions and garlic are crushed and cut into smaller pieces. Heat is applied that sizzles and eventually softens the root vegetables in soothing oils (oil of chrism/annointing oils). Delicate delicious tomatoes are crushed , cut and added to the heat(broken heart/painful experiences). A pinch of sugar is wisely added to make the process more bearable (consolations), increasing the tomatoes’ flavor. Cool, refreshing water (grace) is added to bring all the elements together. Seasonings like oregano and basil, rubbed between fingers and palm to activate flavors, are sprinkled lightly into the sauce, the way friends and life experiences touch our lives with their various flavors (and sometimes hard-earned wisdom).
Then the lid is placed on top of the pot. The heat is turned to a soft simmer, and the Cook walks away, but not too far, always checking and stirring with loving, patient attention. The Cook knows in time all that has been cut into smaller pieces, crushed, pressed and stressed from the heat will finally release its sweet, tightly-held essence and flow until all flavors accept one another and release all they have of their essences, becoming one thick, rich sauce that improves everything onto which it is poured.
The cook knows all this and one thing more. The sauce improves when rested overnight and reheated the next day.