Slow Roasting Spices, a Metaphor for Mindful Living

Posted by Dinesh Perera on July 11, 2014 (0 Comments)

There’s a lot of talk about mindfulness nowadays but what does it mean? In this digital age we have so many distractions that being present isn’t an easy task. One of the many reasons I treasure cooking is that the simple act of stepping into a kitchen is almost meditative. I put the phone down, turn off the TV, disengage from email and the internet altogether. The experience of cooking is tactile. The process engages all of our wonderful senses, sight, smell, touch, taste and even hearing. I love listening to the crackle and sizzle while simmering a delicious sauce, vegetable or meat. Cooking allows me to slow down and really savor the moment with people dear to me. Since I was young boy cooking has been a communal event. I have fond memories of my great aunt and grandmother laughing in the kitchen while the aroma of slow roasting spices wafted through the air. We didn’t need a bell to bring everyone together; we migrated as if in a trance.

For an inspired chef, cooking is like a sculptor putting his hands in wet clay. Like an artist who relishes a blank canvas waiting to evolve into whatever his imagination dreams up, a great spice set and the right tools are magic waiting to happen. Whether you’re using cinnamon, cardamom, pepper or curry, the spices and herbs used for flavor, aroma and medicinal properties are colorful, pungent and incredibly delicious. Sri Lankan spices, or Ceylon spices, are particularly incredible to cook with-- the tropical island close to the equator offers fertile and diverse soil types, varying micro climates and favorable temperatures that enhance the intrinsic value of crops. Sri Lanka has been famous for its quality spices since time immemorial. The story of spices from Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, dates back to the 14th century. I’ll cover the spice trade in a future post.

For now, I invite you to log off, slow down and go put your hands in that yummy clay.


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