The Executive Pagan, my fellow kitchen druid, suggested a Kitchen Druid’s Cookbook. After thinking about what this would entail, I realized it would actually be pretty short. Here’s how to Cook Like A Druid:
Eat as close to home as you can. This means growing your own food, if you can, and if you can’t, it means buying it from local farmers. If you can’t do that, learn where your food comes from. Understand that the supermarket is not the source of food. Understand that it is all the bounty of the Earth. Keep a compost pile, even if it’s tiny, to really understand how it is that food cycles into the earth and back out again. Understand that excrement is also fertilizer and that there is no “waste product.” Meditate on this.
Visit the farms where your food is grown. Look the cow that will become your steak in the eye and understand the ancient sacrifice that we make every time we consume one of our fellow creatures. Kill, clean, and eat your own fish or game, at least once, to understand this relationship as well. Raise an animal to adulthood, then kill it and eat it. Do this responsibly and humanely. Remember what that felt like every time you prepare a dish of meat, regardless of the source. Meditate on this, and on the complex dance of life and death. Your life is one step in that dance. Remember that someday, you too will be food to some other creature. You cannot avoid this. Know that this is a good thing.
Admire your ingredients. Smell the spices, appreciate the texture of fresh meat, see the beauty of fruits and vegetables. Notice the Fibonacci spirals in your fruits and vegetables. Research this concept and understand what in means in terms of botany as well as in sacred geometry (here’s a place to start). Meditate on this. Smile with delight every time you notice another Fibonacci spiral in your food. Notice the fractals in your broccoli and the golden section in your carrot.
Experiment. Play with your food. Imagine a flavor, then play with ingredients until you have created it. Cooking is art – your creations deserve honor as much as any other artist’s. Do not be afraid to praise your own skill. Eat slowly and with appreciation. Use utensils of wood or bone or metal, not plastic. Do not be afraid to try new flavors and to cook in different ways. Don’t be afraid to go off the page and cook something in a way that no one told you to do. Cook for your family, cook for your guests, and do it freely and with love.
Learn what brings health to your body and what doesn’t. Don’t rely solely on outside sources for this information – what is good for one person may not be for another. We all have individual needs for our individual bodies, and the only way to learn those needs is to pay attention. Pay attention to what you eat to observe what makes you feel vital and energized, what makes you feel relaxed and sated, what makes you feel ill or sluggish. Know that the health value of food is more than the sum of its various nutritional parts, and feed your body, mind and soul what it needs when it needs it.
Realize that all of the secrets of the Universe can be found in the relationship between the eater and the eaten. Know that cooking is as profound a path to enlightenment as any other. Cook like you believe this.