The Influence of our Emotions in our Cooking (From Around the Globe)
Recently a friend told me about a pre-cooking ritual her mom performed, in order to ensure a positive state of mind, lest the negative emotions make their way into her food This was an entirely new concept and it grabbed me, and I think it has some merit. [It also later became the the inspiration behind one of the most popular Cultures Capsules.]
Since then, I’ve come across this concept a few more times and it’s solidifying my own beliefs. As with other things, it’s also fascinating that a similar philosophy exists in so many corners of the globe.
I think the first time I heard about this concept first hand was from a Mexican-American friend who shared what her mother told her about how to ensure only positive emotions would be transferred to her food.
“My mom talks about this old Mexican tradition that all good food takes a bit of patience, love and general happiness while cooking. She says that at the start of any meal, her mother would tell her to make sure that you’ve had a nice strong cup of coffee if you’re cooking in the morning or “una tequilita” (a shot of tequila) and rid yourself of any negative feelings/anger/frustration before the start of your meal prep because that energy gets passed on into your food, leaving a bad taste or a poorly cooked meal. The best way I know how to do this is by pouring myself a solid whiskey or a pint of beer, throwing some happy electro cumbias on my spotify and popping my headphones in while I get to work. “
“… make sure that you’ve had a nice strong cup of coffee if you’re cooking in the morning or “una tequilita” (a shot of tequila) …”
A Palistinian-American friend shared a similar concept, and even provides an example where people who have enjoyed the said food will comment on how the the food was enriched by the cook’s love and efforts.
“The phrase used in Palestinian culture is “min nif-fess.” It means from the heart, which attributes to something being done whole heartedly. The phrase in Arabic does not literally translate from the heart, but it eludes to it. It is often used to describe someone cooking with all their love and feelings. “
So for example:
Hanadi: Meghna cooked such a delicious meal for iftar.
Yousef: She truly did, min nif-fess.
(As per Master Chef Vietnam season 2 winner – Hoang Minh Nhat, via this post)
Hoang Minh Nhat, talks about the psychology of a chef being so important; that the chef’s emotions will directly influence the quality of the food. In the post she recommends creating “an Eden” in one’s kitchen, keeping it clean and organized; not allowing jarring outside noise, but definitely music that helps the chef stay in good spirits; using fresh ingredients that themselves have good energies; and decorating one’s kitchen with inspirational objects or decor.
We’ve poked around on the web for more examples, but I’d rather hear directly from others… how are emotions tied to cooking in your culture?