Eating Artfully

Food is one of the most fabulous things humans have in common. It’s a universal language we all speak, no matter where we are in the world. And artistically, it is one of the most powerful mediums that inspires us to be mindful. These reasons are why food and cooking are so important to me. And yes, there is a right way to enjoy it all. Eating artfully is about creating beautiful food at home and thoroughly enjoying the process along the way. 

Often, we eat too quickly or end up in such a hurry that our food choices get stuck in a hamster wheel, leaving us with no desire to create something new in the kitchen. We decide there is no time to cook, so we grab that manufactured product that says, “I’m quick. I’m easy. You won’t have to relate to me at all! Just put me in the microwave. I’m your new masterpiece in two minutes flat!” And then what happens? You remove that masterpiece from said microwave and taste a wave of artificial, rubbery void served in a plastic container. Where’s the excitement in eating that? I’ll tell you exactly where the excitement lies. It’s lying dormant in our brains, waiting for an earth-shattering awakening from its slumber. 

We are all born artists. It’s up to us to nurture that attribute within us, bring it back to life, if you will. 

When we eat delicious food, we encounter its taste, smell and texture. We also take in a deeper, multi-sensory experience. Our perceptions of how it will taste before we eat it come into play. Our surroundings add to the enjoyment. We even gauge the experience by the shape, color and size of our plates. Each one of these elements contributes to the art of eating artfully. 

BUT WHAT EXACTLY IS EATING ARTFULLY? 

To eat artfully is to have complete awareness during the process of preparing and enjoying a meal. Start by believing with your entire being that you are worthy of having that creative connection with food and cooking. You deserve to feel good when creating a beautiful meal and sharing it with the people you love. Cooking should never be stressful or feel like work. It should be 100-percent enjoyable. 

HOW DO YOU EAT ARTFULLY? 

It’s much like cooking mindfully but with a twist of artistry. When we cook, we empty our minds of the day’s stressors, and we focus on silencing negative thoughts while welcoming calmness. In this mindset, we wash, cut, cook, taste and savor with awareness and enjoyment. We become intimate with cooking by cooking. If you say to yourself, “I don’t have time to cook,” or “I don’t like cleaning up all the mess afterward,” you are making excuses not to grow in your creativity. Stop that! Whether a newbie or a seasoned cook, now is the time to get into the kitchen and advance your skills. Need a coach or ideas on where to start? I’m your gal. 

A great first exercise in eating artfully is to make tomato toast. 

Yes, I’m asking you to make a simple, gorgeous tomato toast for you and only you to enjoy. It can be an early morning breakfast when no one else is awake, or it can be a late-night snack. The idea is to connect with the ingredients you choose. Touch the tomatoes with your hands, see their beauty with your eyes, smell the fragrance of the herbs, and taste the freshness, sweetness and textures with your tongue. 

YOUR TOMATO TOAST 

  • Choice of bread (ciabatta, multi-grain, or artisanal loaf), toasted to perfection
    Tomatoes (cherry, Roma, heirlooms, or any other variety) 
  • A soft, spreadable base (avocado, vegan sour cream, hummus, or regular cream cheese) 
  • Fresh herbs (basil, chives, tarragon, or microgreens) 
  • A dressing for drizzle (balsamic glaze or Dijon-based vinaigrette) 
  • Sprinkles (hemp hearts, chia, or poppy seeds, dried herbs,
    or seasonings) 
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper 

Once you’ve got your masterpiece created, serve the toast on a plate that speaks to you at that moment. How do you want to feel when you eat this toast? Do you want to feel regal? Do you want to feel a sense of comfort? Think about what will frame your toast and give it that extra aesthetic it deserves. Do this with complete consciousness—don’t just go through the motions. Manifest the arranging of the ingredients onto your toast and be alive in the present moment. I kid you not, emotions will surface, and your tomato toast will be beautiful. 

Author

  • Ruthie Martinez

    Ruthie owns Black Fig Food catering and is proprietor of the online cooking platform Elevated Plant Plate. Learn more at blackfigfoodprograms.com and blackfigfood.com.