On Being Present With Food: ‘How To Cut An Onion’

Cynthia Lair’s TED Talk On Being Present With Food: ‘How To Cut An Onion’

This video has been doing the rounds on internet. Whilst I don’t really like her delivery (too much “Yay!” going on) her message is spot on. What she is talking about is looking deeply into your food and being present. An added bonus is seeing how to chop an onion properly ;-), and I like her analogy of an onion and a globe.

When Ms Lair talks about the noise and chaos in the learning kitchen it reminded me of when we were on the retreat last year and we were asked not to enter the kitchen. The kitchen is considered a meditative space and so we were asked not to disturb this space.

While cooking, we allow enough time so we will not feel rushed. Let us be aware that our brothers and sisters depend on this food for their practice. This awareness will guide us to cook healthy food infused with our love and mindfulness. (From Art of Mindful Living)

As I was on the washing up roster I was able to sneak a peek into the kitchen on more than one occasion, although we did the washing up outside in the sun (glorious!). Considering how many people were preparing our food it was so relaxed and quiet in there and I was fascinated by the monks cooking away mostly in silence. It was the furthest thing from a Gordon Ramsay show for sure.

Thich Nhat Hanh writes in his book For a Future to Be Possible:

Being in touch also means knowing whether toxins are present in the food. We can recognize food as healthy or not thanks to our mindfulness.

Did the video make you think about how you prepare food in the kitchen? It made me think about my mum and how she always told us her food was so good (she was being modest) because she made it with love (the food obviously noticed).


One thought on “On Being Present With Food: ‘How To Cut An Onion’

  1. Love this post! Cutting an onion is never going to be the same again, that’s for sure!
    And Ms Lair could do with a glass of water…or two…


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