Leini (Turin, Italy), 23 July 2018 – by ramia Paolo
On July of the current year, the religious house of hospitality “Divine Mother of Joy House”—located within the Monastery of the Church Anima Universale—turns seven, and with it the refreshment point for pilgrims as well.
And seven years ago, I got “promoted” as the Chef and food manager of the canteen.
I hadn’t attended any specialized school or cooking classes; probably my self-nomination was “accepted” because of my long experience in the battlefield (by sitting at the table).
Therefore, after having obtained the license at the food hygiene course held by the Piedmont Region, I started this adventure.
While planning a menu calendar to start the work, I was full of doubts and uncertainties, but trustful that Swami would have helped me as always.
Who knows how many dishes and recipes he will suggest me… I thought, and so we addressed the topic.
His answer was brief and concise: “Don’t worry, you can find recipes everywhere, your only concern must be to cook with Love and to choose the raw materials well. The rest will come by itself”.
Maybe, by reading this, someone will feel a little bit disappointed: What?… no amazing recipe or ingredient?
Well no, dear friends… As always, Swami gave me the wisest and most spiritual answer that one could get: use your intelligence when choosing raw materials and recipes, and [use] the Spirit as “special” ingredient.
But, in practice, what does it mean cooking with Love?
This question was asked of me by a volunteer during his voluntary service in the kitchen. He added: “How can I ‘feel something’ for a pasta dish or for the unknown people who come here to eat?”
Well, I thought, here is someone who goes beyond the surface of a term, Love, so overused nowadays.
This was my answer:
“When Swami says to cook with Love, he doesn’t mean that you have to feel moved while peeling potatoes (with onions it’s easier). Instead, he wants to say a lot of things.
You have to think of doing your service in the kitchen with the utmost care, attention and dedication. In that moment, you have to think that in the first place there is the person who will eat the meal you are preparing, and your goal is to make her happy. In that case, that person is ‘thy neighbor’.
You have to think that you are ‘manipulating’ the fruits of Life, which is God. Why pollute them with inadequate behaviors, anxieties, worries and various negativities?
Think positive, think that God is far stronger than our troubles!
Ah... one more thing. When you are finished, leave the kitchen tidy and clean for those who will come after you: you would like the same.”
See how many ingredients within… a single recipe?