brain butter vi: eating… for its own sake

To the Butter Creature:

Your mom and I have talked enthusiastically many times about having as habit the space and time for food each evening (each day, really).

Food seems to have the properties of both tastiness and essentiality, if done well. Fooding can be artistic. Your mom proves this point, often. Food seems to be intelligent life, of which we then get to become a part of – and it of us – through the choosing, preparing, eating, and cleaning-up process.

Reverentiality can be a part of food.


And so it is that we’ve started long before you were born a kind of team-thing in the kitchen on many nights each week, me as Shay-Chef and your mom as Master of Ceremonies, Angel of Presentation, Grace of Good-Eating. She tells me what to do (i.e. “Just hang and keep me company” or “chop this” or “clean that”) and I [usually]  abide without hesitation. It could be the seemingly simplest meal and yet the preciousness and precision and appreciation that goes into it – the banter, the body-slapping, the brutish noise-making – make it just another “ordinary Wednesday.”

Our gas-station-attendant friend in Midtown spoke once of his family dinner time growing up, everyone sitting around and enjoying their meals and no one saying a word. I relayed this to Shalin and it resonated with both of us. So we’ve slowly begun this unwritten habit of eating as a way to share experience with the food we share life with. Honoring as habit the process of enjoying our food. Not thinking we need to do so many things at once. Maybe some additional body-slapping after dinner.

If you get here and we treat the evenings as a team in process, we want you to know where it comes from. Not the “littlest” or “biggest” act less or more a part of the whole. And lots of room for playful, spontaneous amending to any of what’s written, above.

A couple quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh’s Savor:

Being mindful does not mean that we just sit for hours on our meditation cushion in a retreat or monastery. There are many ways to practice mindfulness that can be fully integrated into our daily living. Besides conscious breathing, we can do walking meditation, sitting meditation, smiling, mindful listening, mindful speaking, and mindful working. We can practice concentration and looking deeply in all the activities of our daily life. Even while walking, we can practice stopping. We can walk in such a way that we arrive with each step – not walking just to get somewhere else. We can walk to enjoy each step.  If we practice stopping while attending to e-mails, surfing the web, attending meetings or appointments, folding the laundry, washing the dishes, or taking a shower, we are living deeply. If we do not practice this way, the days and months will fly by without our awareness, and we will lose many precious moments of our life. Stopping helps us live fully in the present. 


When practiced to its fullest, mindful eating turns a simple meal into a spiritual experience, giving us a deep appreciation of all that went into the meal’s creation as well a deep understanding of the relationship between the food on our table, our own health, and our planet’s health.