With every Journal, there’s usually one story in which we bring together food and fashion. On the day of the shoot, it’s everything you imagine it to be. Excitement, jitters and glamour all at once as the models arrive to go into makeup, the stylist starts playing with outfits, the photographer’s crew starts setting up lights, and everyone gets stuck in to bring the story to life. Here’s a look at JAN the Journal Volume 10’s lead story, State of Play, which encourages us all to play with our food more.
How to Play with Your Food
Reconnecting with food in a mindful way has been found to decrease emotional eating and can curb overeating by helping us feel more satisfied. In simplifying the many mantras and techniques one could apply to repairing one’s bond with food, here are just a few steps to becoming more present when eating:
Treat every dish like you’ve never had it before.
In truth, you haven’t. If you’ve ever dabbled in philosophy (or read Sophie’s World), you would have come across Heraclitus’s statement that one can never step into the same river twice. There are many ways of dissecting this trail of thought, but on a less cerebral note, anyone who dines out once in a while will know that no two cheeseburgers are created equal, except maybe at McDonald’s.
Engage every possible sense.
Does the food you’re about to eat require you to use your hands, perhaps to peel it? When you do, does it spray or burst? Does it release a fragrance and change the ambience of the room? Does it reveal a new colour? Then, when you bring it to your mouth, how does the delicate skin of your lips react? Whether featherlight or heavy with stodge, every morsel carries weight. Feel it as it lands on your tongue. Breathe in its flavours – and breathe out its lingering aftertaste. Does it make you salivate? Explore its textures with your tongue and the inside of your cheeks. If it’s smooth, find its perfect imperfections, test them, and see where they yield to pressure.
Surrender your emotions.
Remember that scene in Ratatouille where the bitter food critic takes a bite of the final dish, and it transports him to what was possibly his last fond memory as a child? Allow yourself to reminisce, to find the emotion you felt when you first tasted these flavours. Let them all in and take down your defences. To feel is one of the most human things. Then, take a moment to consider the life cycles of all the ingredients on your plate – where they came from, who cultivated and nurtured them, and who made this dish for you – and allow yourself to feel grateful. This is a moment of gravity. Let it overwhelm you. Rest. Savour it.