Sunday, August 1, 2010

HOW TO EAT

THE ART OF EATING
By
VIKRAM KARVE



Are you in the habit of “grabbing a bite”...?
Do you ever eat in the office while continuing to work or just skip meals altogether...?
Do you multitask while eating...?
Do you have power breakfasts, working lunches and business dinners...?
Do you eat fast and hurriedly, finish meals well ahead of everyone else and eat in bigger bites without savoring the taste of food...? 
Can you vividly recall the taste of all the dishes you ate for dinner last night...? 

Do you eat when you eat...?
Do you want to master the Art of Eating and learn how to enjoy your food...?
Remember, there is no love greater than the love of eating – so read on, learn and try to master the Art of Eating...  
Good food must be savored delicately; slowly, attentively and respectfully; in a befitting manner, with finesse and technique, with relish and appreciation and you will experience true gustatory delight.
That’s essence of the Art of Eating.  
It is sacrilege to eat in a ravenous and rapacious manner.
Never eat when tired, angry, worried, tense, hurried, and at mealtimes refuse to think or talk about unpleasant subjects.  
It is best to eat alone, mindfully, with yourself, in glorious solitude, in a calm, serene, conducive and unhurried environment.
If you must have company, you must always eat with friendly, relaxed and tranquil people who love food and whose company you enjoy; never eat with “toxic”, “harried” or “stressed-out” people or in a tense or hurried atmosphere.  
If you want to do full justice to good food, you must build up an appetite for it – merely being hungry is not enough.
And the first step towards building up an appetite for good food is to think about it – simulated imaginative gustatory visualization to stimulate and prepare yourself for the sumptuous indulgence.
An important thing we were taught at boarding school was to read the menu and prepare for the meal by beginning to imagine relishing each and every dish, from soup to pudding, in our mind’s eye.  
Remember: First plan your “eat” and then eat your “plan”. 
It is true.

I eat my food twice.
First I "eat" in my mind’s eye – imagining, visualizing, “vicariously tasting”, fantasizing, strategizing on how I am going to savor and relish the dish to my utmost pleasure and satisfaction till my mouth waters and I desperately yearn to eat it.
And then I do the honours – actually go ahead and physically eat it and enjoy the delightful experience.  
Eating is not a gustatory experience alone; it is visual and olfactory as well.
Food must look good, smell good, taste good and, most importantly, make you feel good.
The Art of Eating – a Holistic, Multidimensional experience, encompassing all domains of your inner being.
Eat in silence. Mindfully. With full awareness.
Savour the aroma, delicately place the food on your tongue, chew slowly and experience the variety of flavours as the permeate your taste buds, fully aware and sense the nourishment as the food dissolves and sinks deep within you.
Chew your food to a pulp or milky liquid until it practically swallows itself.
Never mix food and drink – alcohol dulls the taste buds, and olfactory sensation, and encumbers the unmitigated enjoyment of good food.  
You must always close your eyes during the process of eating.
When you eat, you must eat; nothing else, no seeing, no hearing, no talking. No multitasking. That’s right – never multi-task while eating.
Just eat...Yes, when you eat just eat...

Focus all your senses on your food, eat mindfully, meditatively, and you will attain a state of delightful bliss and happiness.  
It’s simple.
Create a positive eating atmosphere, an environment of happy conducive vibes, honour your taste buds, respect your food and eat it in a proper state of mind, with love, zest, awareness and genuine appreciation and it will transport you to a state of bliss and happiness.
Remember: There is no love greater than the love of eating...  
In a nutshell, this is the "Art of Eating". 

Dear Reader, long back I read a Teaching Story ( Inspirational Tale ), maybe it was a Zen or Tao Story, quoted by Thich Nhat Hanh, from where I derived my inspiration for The Art of Eating. I am giving you this teaching story in my own words below for you to read and reflect on, as I feel it is most apt here, in your quest to master the ART OF EATING: 



Spirituality, Meditation and Art of Living had become the “in thing”.

Courses on the Art of Living were proliferating all over and every one was rushing to attain instant happiness, inner peace, nirvana and bliss.

A wise old man, a teacher, living in the neighbourhood announced that he would teach instant Art of Living free of cost.

On the first day he drew a huge crowd.

“What do you all want to achieve?” the teacher asked the audience.

“Inner peace, tranquillity and true happiness,” everyone shouted in unison.

“For that you have to attain enlightenment.” the teacher said.

"How?" the audience asked.

“By practicing the Art of Living,” the teacher said.

“How do you practice the Art of Living? Please teach us,” the audience asked the teacher eagerly.

“It is simple – just eat and sleep,” the teacher said, “you can practise the art of living by eating and by sleeping.”

“What nonsense!” the astounded audience exclaimed.

 “Yes,” said the teacher nonchalantly, “When Hungry, Eat... and When Tired, Sleep – that is the Art of Living”.

“Everybody does that!” shouted the audience.

“No. Everybody does not Eat when they Eat and everybody does not Sleep when they Sleep”, the teacher said calmly, “but when I eat, I only eat and when I sleep I only sleep. That is the Art of Living I practice – I live in the present moment fully focussed on whatever I am doing with full awareness.”


So now, Dear Reader, you are ready to master the Art of Eating...

All the Best...!
Happy Eating...!


VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

[An essay on the Art of Eating – one of my earliest foodie blog posts on Sulekha which appears in my book APPETITE FOR A STROLL http://books.sulekha.com/book/appetite-for-a-stroll/default.htm along with my other foodie writings]


 
 
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