Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Mindful Cook on Taking Tea

I am currently taking a course called "Mindfulness and Spirituality" so these days, any book with the word mindfulness in the title catches my attention.  I believe that the practice of mindfulness holds multifaceted benefits for anyone who devotes herself or himself to it.  So this book, The Mindful Cook: Finding Awareness, Simplicity, and Freedom in the Kitchen by Isaac Cronin drew me to it when I saw it on a store shelf.

As I thumbed through the book last night, I was pleased to discover that there is a section in which the author discusses the ritual of taking tea.  (pages 146-156)  He talks about taking tea in the context of mindful attention and hospitality.  So he opens these pages on tea with a quote from the queen of hospitality, Alexandra Stoddard.

In Alexandra Stoddard's Tea Celebrations, Stoddard writes:
"Each occasion is special. Every time you plan a tea happening, certain dynamics come into play. Listen and hear the message. For long after the event there is a lingering intimacy. Three sips into a sincere tea ritual could change our attitudes about the way we choose to live our lives."

These pages devoted to a discussion of taking tea focus on mindful attention to the ritual of tea and the interactions between host and guests.  (It also points to fascinating differences between how tea is taken in the East and in the West.) An article I referenced in an earlier blog post, "How to Be Mindful With a Cup of Tea" gives more explicit "instructions" on how one might practice mindfulness while drinking a single cup of tea.

I enjoyed the ten pages in The Mindful Cook which are focused on tea. Now I look forward to exploring the remainder of this lovely book.

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Maira Gall