At the risk of sounding a little geeky, I’m going to tell you something about myself. I think canning is super cool. A few months ago, I was given a steam canner as a gift and let me tell you, it’s amazing. It lets me can high-acidity foods, like jams and jellies, faster than a hipster finds irony.
But canning isn’t just fun and games. It’s symbolic of a much larger shift in consciousness. Around the country, people are canning, pickling, holding food swaps and learning to make use of their kitchens. So, what’s going on here?
I think it has to do with a desire to feel grounded and to live out the fullness of the human experience. Food is representative of so much more in life. It’s fundamental to life and it’s the most basic form of nourishment. If we’re not nourishing our bodies with good food, it seems likely to me that we may not be nourishing our spirits with love, compassion and all that stuff spirits like to munch on. Just go with me on this, I think I’m onto something.
In my mind (which I admit might be a little nuts), how we eat is often a metaphor for how we live. If we’re eating too fast – in the car or in front of the TV – it probably means we’re living too fast. We’re not taking the time to be mindful and present. We’re just consuming life blindly, without pausing to enjoy it or reflect upon it. And that’s not good!
Learning to cook, taking the time to can your own food, reclaiming traditional food preparation and preservation methods that were commonplace for our grandparents – these are all practices that force us to slow down and be present with the food we’re eating. And with life. I think as a culture, we’re craving that. We’re spending too much time in the ether. Too much time adrift in the virtual world, lost among all the chatter. We’re not feeling present or grounded.
And speaking of feeling grounded – food literally reminds us of our connection with the ground and the soil. Understanding where our food comes from, holding the ingredients in our hands and masterminding the super amazing alchemy that is cooking helps us to feel how deeply we are connected to nature. It brings us back to earth. It grounds us. And for a society that spends so much of its time in the intangible world of the information super highway (remember when people actually called it that?) – a world we actually refer to as “the cloud” – being grounded is crucial!
I’d love to hear from you! Have you recently learned to can, pickle, cook, bake – whatever? Does it help you feel present or grounded?