A few days ago I was sitting in my favourite café enjoying my favourite meal of the day, which is breakfast – a small espresso with a drop of very hot milk and a fresh croissant to dunk into it. I was contemplating the world around me, thinking how good it was peacefully to savour the taste of what I was eating, when a thought popped into my mind, which was how important it is to give ourselves the time to enjoy food.
led me to think how little attention we often now pay to the simple pleasure of
eating when we can dash into a coffee-house and grab a quick
drink and a bite to eat on our way to hurrying to wherever we are going. This
made me consider what this is doing to our Earth element, our mother element
which is there to nourish and support the other elements, and which needs to be
nourished and supported itself if it is to do its work properly. It has to learn how to do this, as all
elements do, as they gradually take over the role their mother has taken on in
the womb. I now
watch with dismay as mothers stuff bottles into small babies’ mouths in their
prams in the street or even in buses amidst all the tumult and traffic noise. Here there is none of the peaceful enjoyment
of feeding time which we should be allowing our babies, and which help their tender little Earth elements to assume their role.
wonder how far our lack of attention to the actual process of enjoying the food
we put in our mouths, particularly in the early days of a child’s life, is one
of the reasons for the sharp rise in obesity we see all around us. The Earth element can only develop as it
should in a loving, caring environment, where it is able to welcome food as
something which warms and nourishes it.
It needs this to sustain a healthy relationship to food throughout later
life. If it is denied this comfort because
its Stomach official is asked to snatch at the food that reaches it, it will
try to hold on to as much of this food as it can, being unwilling to discard
what is unwanted because it is not given enough time to process it. Rather than satisfying it, then, the food
that reaches it is tantalizingly snatched away as it is gobbled down in the
hurly-burly of modern life.
This may perhaps be one of the reasons behind the success of so many TV
cookery programmes. Do we, through them
at one remove as it were, learn to enjoy again, or even for the first time, the
delights of food cooked as it should be, as though we are kidding ourselves
that this is how we are feeding ourselves?
Is this, too, the reason for the runaway success of The Great British
Bake Off, with a mother or a grandmother substitute for the whole country so
clearly there in Mary Berry, as the TV immerses us in succulent images of
home-baked cakes, so Earth-like a delight?
hidden in this, too, may well lie the reason why I hardly pass a person in the
street who is not holding a cup of coffee or tea in their hands, often making
no attempt to drink it, a substitute for a mother’s nipple if there ever was
one, as though their Earth element is sending out a constant reminder to them
of its need for attention.
is this, too, why I so enjoy sitting in a coffee house with my coffee and
croissant, a reminder, perhaps, of home and hearth (and mother) all those years