Holistic Living - A Taste of Meditation
At Osho International Meditation Resort, Pune, food is an everyday celebration. Everyone delights in how delicious the food tastes and how beautifully it is served. The care and awareness that is used while preparing the food is phenomenal.
The eating area is in a huge garden with square black tables, where people from all over the world – 104 countries to be precise – connect with each other and take the time to really enjoy their meals.
How different it is when friends and lovers spend their day in meditation and creativity and then sensitively enjoy eating together under the canopy of the blue sky and lush trees. Then food has the very taste of meditation.
It helps that the vegetables and fruits are utterly fresh. The herbs and salads are plucked every morning from the farm and are used the same day. The kitchen team is extremely finicky about cleanliness and hygiene. Most of the raw vegetables are grown organically. We work with farmers and teach them how to handle vegetables in a hygienic way. Every fruit or vegetable is cleaned three times – first in plain water, then in a solution that cleanses the stuff but does not kill its nutritious value; and then rinsed in clear water. This solution is carefully prepared by our engineers. We have a lab that tests the food for its contamination level – both prepared and raw before we use it – every day. Even supplies that are bought from outside like mineral water, jams and ketchups, are tasted before we accept them. We don’t use any artificial color and don’t buy ingredients that contain it.
We make sure that vegetables and fruits are stored in separate cool rooms. The root vegetables are isolated because they carry maximum micro organisms from the earth. They can be preserved for a longer period (a maximum of one week) but need to be stored in a dry and cool place to avoid gathering mould, fungus, etc. We store them separately to avoid cross contamination. Also, we don’t allow people to use the same knives for cutting vegetables and fruits because they contaminate each other easily.
Vegetables that are not peeled and only blanched, like broccoli, cauliflower, French beans, spinach, etc, are treated with greater care. And there are also the salads, tomatoes, cucumber, rucola, etc. which we serve raw. All very healthy when grown organically, but at the same time needing triple the amount of precaution. These vegetables are put in the cool room as soon as they arrive, then washed and used the same or the next day.
Our cooks wear gloves but that is not enough, because if they touch everywhere, the purpose is defeated. Every day, we talk to them and make them understand the importance of hygiene. Our visitors are from all around the world, so their bodies are very sensitive to bacteria. Hence the precaution.
We have a wealth of recipes shared by visitors from their mothers’, grandmothers’ or some chef’s cook books.
Food is first eaten through the eyes so it is very important to present it well. We have a sprawling serving area and we lay out the food in such a way that it looks like a multi-colored painting. It really whets the appetite. Secondly, the nose joins the celebration. The aroma of the food is equally important. If people are put off by the smell, all the efforts in cooking go waste.
We support it by using the purest ingredients. No compromise on the quality of ingredients like oil, cheese or spices is entertained because it enhances the inherent flavor of the fruit or vegetable. Cooking has to be like wooing a woman – soft, non-imposing, just tickling it so that it unfolds its hidden qualities. Then the third element is, of course, taste. Cooked with so much respect and love, the food exudes contentment and tastes wonderful!
Asparagus Parmesan Salad (Serves 4)
Fresh asparagus 600 gms
Parmesan cheese 100 gms
Lemon juice 1
Extra virgin olive oil 100 ml
Salt 3 gms
Black pepper powder 3 gms
Mustard powder 2 gms
Method: Boil water, add asparagus in it and cook till tender but still firm, cool and set aside. Make vinaigrette dressing, by mixing lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper powder and mustard powder. Set aside. Make thin Parmesan shavings with the help of a peeler or a knife. Arrange the blanched asparagus in the plate neatly. Put some vinaigrette dressing on top. Garnish with the Parmesan shavings. Serve at room temperature.
Strawberry Cognac (Serves 4)
Strawberry 800 gms
Sugar 50 gms
Cognac 60 ml
Lemon juice 2 ml
Method: Wash the strawberries and trim the stems. In a pan add the sugar and lemon juice. As the sugar begins to caramelize, add the strawberries and toss for two minutes. Add the Cognac and flambé. Take off from the fire and set aside to cool. When cool put in individual champagne saucers and serve chilled or at room temperature. Garnish with toasted slivered nuts if desired.
"Simply meditate every day before you take food. Close your eyes and just feel what your body needs – whatsoever it is! You have not seen any food – no food is available; you are simply feeling your own being, what your body needs, what you feel like, what you hanker for. “Dr. Leonard Pearson calls this, ‘humming food’ – food that hums to you. Go and eat as much of it as you want, but stick to it. The other food he calls, ‘beckoning food’: when it becomes available, you become interested in it... If you listen to your humming food, you can eat as much as you want and you will never suffer, because it will satisfy you...The problem arises only if you are eating foods that are beckoning foods... They cannot satisfy you because there is no need in the body for them... Feeling unsatisfied, you eat more, but howsoever much you eat, it is not going to satisfy because there is no need in the first place." – Osho
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