Thursday, January 28, 2010

Heightening the Taste of Food

Today my sister, Julie, was going through all her books and I came across a bunch of book about Siddhartha and other related books about meditation and life. While I was pilfering through the ones I decided that I was going to read, I began thinking about another article I read on the Dining & Wine page of The New York Times Website, "When Chocolate and Chakras Collide". 

It got me thinking about the concept of marrying food and yoga in the same class. The article tells of a disagreement in yoga communities about the marriage. Some argue that since the path of practicing yoga leads followers to enlightenment, then why not heighten their sense of taste or 'enlighten' themselves while eating and tasting different foods. On the other end of the spectrum, some firmly follow the earliest teachings of yoga, supporting that yoga forbids the eating of meat and the teachings of yoga which forbid pain for others, where the 'others' may include the sources of our food. 

While I understand that both sides of the argument, I have to admit that I agree with these new innovators of these food and yoga classes. I think its a great idea. Among other ideas that are similarly designed, the idea of heightening the senses and enjoying the food's flavors for what they are, is a wonderful gift for people who love food and people who are willing to try new things. 

In some big cities, there are places that try to heighten those senses in a different way–not so much through meditation but more so through the elimination of other senses. Since the five senses include  hearing, tasting, touching, seeing and smelling, the easiest to eliminate would be sight, right? These places create dining areas–whether they be typical dining settings with tables and chairs or low tables where diners sit on cushions–where the lights are turned off or where diners can wear masks to cover their eyes. Unable to see their food, diners must rely on the other three senses (considering that they're not cooking the food, there is no sizzling or crunching involved, or at least enough to determine the taste of their food) to taste the meal. 

Smell has been proven to be a significant part of taste so smell is a big factor and touching or feeling food can play an equally significant factor in determining agreeable or disagreeable tastes. For instance, I don't like the taste of bananas because I don't like the texture or the smell. Its a slimely, yet thick, texture with a very sweet, nearly floral smell that I can't handle. I can only eat half a banana—on a good day. 

I think that when people can get down to the meditation and tranquility of uniting with one's self, I think that the taste of food would definitely be magnified. When people can achieve peace with themselves, only can they truly enjoy what others–and food– have to offer, right? Or at least something like that. I believe there is truth behind that. If there were a similar class here in the Duke City, I definitely participate. 

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