First, consider what meal you are to cook. Do you have the time? Rushing will undermine the attentiveness (mindfulness) of the process of cooking. This is holy work and to be enjoyed. Care for what has been given (purchased) is part of the process.
Second, check to be sure you have all that you need and if possible, prepare ingredients in bowls and in order of their inclusion.
Third, Wash, chop, stir and only think on these things. Breathe deeply and have no other distractions such as radio or television. Do one thing well and one thing at a time. Be mindful of the magic of the cooking process and how it transforms food. Be mindful of how God is transforming you in his recipe for your life.
Fourth, before throwing anything away, can it be re-used? Can it be saved? Can bones or vegetable clippings be used in making stock?
Fifth, choose simple recipes with few ingredients and choose recipes which do not too much change the foods being prepared. Let the foods be the foods they are and let their taste and color shine from their Creator. Make only the food we need. Consider color, texture, hot and cold sensations coming to the mouth. And try to resist too many dishes. Do few things well. Eat few things with determined appreciation.
The Five Reflections for Mindful Eating
First, let us reflect on our work which provides the money for this food and on the effort of those who planted and harvested this food.
Second, let us be attentive to the day around the eating of this meal; what was well-done and what was in need of healing and forgiveness.
Third, let us be attentive to the two poisons of the spiritual life: nostalgia (lies of the past) and fantasy (lies of the present and future) so that we welcome good food into a clean and healed body, mind and soul. Where we have not been truthful in this day, may we ask for forgiveness so that we may eat this food in peace.
Fourth, we appreciate this food, which is the answer to our request for our daily bread and which sustains us in good health of our body and our mind which transport to the world the light of Christ.
Fifth, in compassion for those who have little or nothing and in gratitude for what we receive, we give our thanks to God.
Simple Bowls Program Prayers and Mindfulness, The Rev. Canon Charles LaFond, (c) 2011, Concord, New Hampshire
For more information about Simple Bowls, see a youtube video at