Meals to Excite All Five Senses

What’s better than a delicious meal shared in good company? One that engages all parts of body and mind.

How many of us stare at a pristine stove and a near-empty fridge with intimidation, even trepidation? We order Chinese and pizza, racking up costs on foods that—while tasty—leave us feeling lethargic and heavy. No longer does the kitchen need to be your nemesis; cooking can (go with us here) actually be relaxing, fun, and sensual. The most important thing to remember as you get started is to plan to prepare something that excites you. Brainstorm recipes, explore blogs, and Google your favorite foods. Have you always wanted to replicate that paella recipe from your trip to Spain, or the strawberry-rhubarb pie that your grandma would always make? Go with that. By choosing recipes that ignite your inner fire, you’re more inclined to approach the task with enthusiasm and dedication. (And you’ll totally feel like a kid again once the scent of butter and brown sugar begins wafting through the air.) Once you have your recipe and ingredients, you can get to work. And while the process may still seem a bit daunting, remember you only need to focus on one thing at a time. Cooking is a multi-sensory experience—your senses will be plenty stimulated. Still hesitant? We’ll break it down to show you just how soothing a culinary experience can be. [caption id="attachment_57549" align="aligncenter" width="768"]For recipe inspiration and images to delight the senses, check out drpraegers.com. For recipe inspiration and images to delight the senses, check out drpraegers.com.[/caption]

See

If you’re working with fruits and veggie, choose produce that’s both fresh and ready-to-go. Admire the bright red of a bowl of cherry tomatoes, or the sunset gradient of a summer peach. Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, lay everything out across the counter. Notice how much of what you need, and ensure that you have enough to get through the recipe without an additional trips to the grocery store. Prepare all of your equipment.

Touch

As long as your hands are clean, you can get as up-close-and-personal as you want with your food. Swap the spoon for mixing your cookie dough by hand; it yields a fluffier texture that feels positively therapeutic. Roll out the pizza dough and enjoy the slight squish as you apply pressure. Enjoy the feeling of chopped veggies in your hands and then sprinkle them throughout the pasta. By feeling your food, you create a more intimate and pleasurable cooking experience.

Hear

Cooking can get wonderfully noisy. If you’re toasting spices for an Indian feast, you’ll know that everything is close to ready by the signature pops. Should you be sautéeing a pan of veggies, or a slab of salmon, you’ll be able to tell how how the pan is based on how loud everything is sizzling. Enjoy the process of your food cooking. By taking just a few simple steps, you’re transforming simple ingredients into a complex and flavorful feast.

Smell

As you near the end of the cooking process, your kitchen will begin to fill with the aroma of your labor. Enjoy the rich blend of garlic and herbs as your pasta sauce simmer. Take note of the wafting scent of vanilla cake rising. Scent can also help work as a signal for when your food is done: When it comes to baking, a solid smell typically means your hard work is ready for step five.

Taste

Ah, everything you worked for is finally coming to fruition. While it can be tempting to dive in right away, take a moment to prepare your eating space. Set the table, lay out a napkin, and fill a glass of water. Take a few moments to thank yourself and express gratitude for having the opportunity to eat something homemade. When you finally get that first bite, enjoy all of those delightful little details. Notice the texture and the blend of flavors. Appreciate your work. You made this happen. Whether it’s pizza or pizelles, meals cooked at home can be a feast for your senses. Sit back, relax, and enjoy this form of edible meditation.