• Vital Counsel

    • Cooking satisfies the appetite and the senses, while it also opens a new path for your creativity.

    Stimulate your creativity by learning how to cook / 

    One of the most surprising characteristics of the human brain is our neuronal plasticity, the ability to create new connections through the act of learning. Whenever we learn something new, our brains creates different paths that will allow us to carry out that knowledge. From there the importance of keeping our brain completely stimulated, exposed to other realities that will take the vastness of the world to our personal microcosmos.

    We can read, memorize poems, learn to play a musical instrument or maybe dance, synchronize our body with our mind, go out for a stroll and, in general, try the activities that awaken our senses and show us a realm that until then had been ignored, a realm we can explore and which comprises part of our cartography, the resources we use to approach the world; in a single word, the creativity we live with.

    In this sense, one of the unexpected activities that keep said creativity in good shape is cooking, a type of knowledge and practice that is so commonplace that, almost inevitably, we tend to overlook and undervalue it.

    Recently, the renowned businessman Faisal Hoque published a testimony on the Business Insider website which explores the relationship he experienced between learning how to cook and a sudden potentiating of his inventiveness. The initial need, product of leaving the family nucleus, became over time an acquired taste, fostered by a cultural interest in perceiving gastronomy as a crucible where different heritages, appropriations and modification are mixed, with just enough room to add a personal touch, to experiment, the search for a modest personal seal.

    On the other hand, the kitchen also has a social condition that works in its favor. Historically it has been a practice that summons others and which is used to share food but also everything located around it: food brings people together and strengthens bonds.

    In the article, Hoque refers to an ancient text written in the eighth century by Master Eihei Dogen, Tenzo Kyokun or Instructions for the Tenzo. In Zen Buddhism, “tenzo” is the head of a monastery’s kitchen, and considering that Zen is life in itself, the kitchen is yet another way of taking it into the present. “How could he possibly have done his job?” Dogen states when he speaks of the time he spent observing the cook doing his duties.

    Hoque’s reference is not coincidental. After all, the basis of Zen, “paying attention to the present”, is also one of the main principles of cooking. Is it not common for a Chef apprentice to cut himself because he was distracted while he was chopping vegetables? In this sense, cooking brings us to the present, the present of requirements, the present of the already finished, the present of what we are doing right now and also the present that is just around the corner, that present whose endlessness is condensed by the boiling pot and the tasting mouth.

    Two other characteristics of cooking are, as we mentioned before, experimentation and, eventually, control. As with other artistic disciplines, the person that cooks faces a vast tradition of established procedures, norms, times and more. But if the apprentice is somewhat daring, if in an instance of eloquence he decides to put down the recipe book and go at it alone, he thus begins to open new paths in his brains. True, he might be wrong. Perhaps the combination of ingredients he chose will not be as tasty as he imagined, but the simple act of trying something new has already been beneficial in and of itself. “Just like making music or poetry, cooking requires understanding interconnectedness and harmonies” Hoque asserts.

    On the other hand, in terms of control, this develops over time, by working and, above all else, with love. When we love what we do, we naturally become better, a conclusion that was defended by Alan Watts. We become better and, reciprocally, we also improve the things that satisfy us the most.

    So, if you were lacking arguments, now you have some. Learn to cook, cook, share and, in the process, see your creativity reach new horizons. 

    Tagged: cooking, creativity, Vital Counsel