An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

Archive for the ‘Food & Cooking’ Category

Letting Go and the Wisdom of Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov by Daniel Dyer

In Food & Cooking on April 5, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Omraam.Mikhael.Aivanhov Recently, my wife ordered a shoulder of lamb from Willowbrook Farm, and I slow roasted it to make dinner for us and her three brothers. I had never cooked shoulder of lamb before. I really enjoyed preparing the unusual combination of spices to coat the lamb (rosemary, cumin, fennel, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, and a pinch of chilli), and after 6 hours left in the oven it was delicious.

I’m not much of a cook and this meal was unusual for me. I make music, I write, I draw, but cookery is not an art I have really tried to cultivate. Cooking the lamb got me thinking about Read the rest of this entry »


Soul Food by Sadat Malik

In Food & Cooking on March 12, 2013 at 9:57 am

boy-with-strawberry2My father worked in the buses when I was a little boy.

I remember wintry evenings when we ate together after he returned home, tired from a hard day’s work in the years before power-assisted steering. We’d gather around the small wooden table, my father, mother, brother, and I. I can remember clearly the sound of the howling wind outside, the comforting warmth of the old gas fireplace, and a child’s fond sense of contentment and togetherness in sharing a simple meal with his family.  Read the rest of this entry »

Dede Chicken Karahi by Mehvish Khan

In Food & Cooking on March 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm


Dede Chicken Karahi

(It only became known Dede Chicken after Dede said he liked it so much and then asked Mehvish for the recipe)

 Ingredients: Read the rest of this entry »

Mindfulness Blessings: 1922 Breaking Bread with a Stranger on a Train to Jerusalem

In Food & Cooking on March 10, 2013 at 11:25 am

Screen shot 2013-03-10 at 10.30.50Over this month I’ve been more conscious and attentive at the dinning table. Coming together to share a meal and to feed our bodies can also be a time to nourish our souls – by opening our hearts to create a field of loving kindness. I’ve come to appreciate the value and power of the spoken word at such times. My daughter, Fatimah Zahra, normally takes the lead and recites, ‘Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem’ – ‘In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful’. I’ve found myself reciting Bismillah out loud to centre myself every now and then as my mind journeys ahead of me. My daughter would be quick to ask, ‘Papa, why are you starting again?’ Something in my heart is touched with her innocent yet profound questions. She gives me a taste of gratitude as I value the presence of her soul in my life and being able to be a part of hers – as with everybody else around the table. Each word… Bismillah, Alhamdulillah, MashallahRead the rest of this entry »

Sometimes a Man Stands Up – Reflections by Jeremy Henzell-Thomas

In Education, Food & Cooking on February 24, 2013 at 12:38 am
Sometimes a man stands up during supper

and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.
And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.

And other man, who remains inside his own house,
stays there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
so that his children have to go far out into the world
toward that same church, which he forgot

Rainer Maria Rilke

rainer-maria-rilke1This morning (Friday, 22nd February) there was a discussion on the Today Programme on Radio 4 about the fact that far more mothers read to their children than fathers. Although an excuse was made that many men come home too late after work to read to their children, the consensus seemed to be that this is something they should be much more involved in, not merely as a worthy duty, but because it was ‘fun’.

Reading to one’s children may seem rather tame in comparison to the  dramatic import of Rilke’s poem about a man who walks away from his house to find that ‘church’ in the East, but is it? Read the rest of this entry »

Love After Love

In Food & Cooking on February 22, 2013 at 9:38 am

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

~ Derek Walcott ~

Sometimes a Man Stands Up

In Education, Food & Cooking on February 21, 2013 at 7:43 am


Sometimes a man stands up during supper
and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.

And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.

And another man, who remains inside his own house,
stays there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
so that his children have to go far out into the world
toward that same church, which he forgot.”
―    Rainer Maria Rilke

Please feel free to share reflections…

Theme: The Dinner Table

In Food & Cooking on February 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm

SpaghettiMarinaraSomeone says, “I can’t help feeding my family.
I have to work so hard to earn a living.”
He can do without God,
but not without food;
he can do without Religion,
but not without idols.
Where is one who’ll say,“If I eat eat bread without awareness of God,
I will choke.”

[Mathnawi II, 3071-79]

I was reminded today of these beautiful lines from Mevlana while eating at the dinner table. I had lapsed into some moments of eating unconsciously and realised I had eaten without being aware that I was eating, let alone of what I was eating. It is also occurred to me how easy it is to fall into a state of unawareness, particularly at the end of the day when one is tired.

It is said in the Mevlevi tradition, that the kitchen is as sacred a place as the prayer hall. A shared meal, along with the collective prayer (salat), is a wonderful opportunity to practise prayer, intention, attention, awareness, and presence*. Maybe it can be used as a focal point in the day when Read the rest of this entry »

Jeremy HT on ‘motivating children to eat properly’

In Food & Cooking on January 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Let me be provocative here, and even introduce a note of levity into a topic which sometimes gets what I believe is over-attention.

On the subject of motivating children to eat properly, I was astonished to read a recent article in the Daily Telegraph which concludes from some research that “Ideally, parents should place seven different items in six different colours on their children’s plates and whenever possible food should be arranged to form a picture.” Frankly, I found this absurd. Read the rest of this entry »

Soul & Food

In Food & Cooking, Mevlevi Tradition on January 5, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Today another fast food shop, serving fried chicken, opened on the high street near where I live in Hackney, London. There are now about seven all together now, all very busy. I saw how their half price deal attracted a throng of local sixth form students. Fifteen years ago, there was only a single fish and chips shop. For many, there doesn’t seem to be a problem with fast food. I have the occasional take away too. For others however, it is empty – and its not necessarily those who are counting their calories or exercising regularly. Some sensitive souls are receptive to the intention, energy and quality through which the food was prepared. One only needs to go to a cafe in Istanbul or a restaurant in Konya to feel an amazing sense of soul in the atmosphere.  The hospitality, lighting, music, quality of food all add together to give, in my view, a very therapeutic experience! (If you’re in London, I highly recommend Azizia Turkish restaurant in Islington)

In the Mevlevi tradition the kitchen is considered as sacred a place as the prayer hall. Derveshes would often bow before entering. The 1001 day dervesh training traditionally carried out in a dergha would include much time in the kitchen, preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning. I asked a Shikeh who had spent a number of years with Suleyman Dede what his teaching methodology included. He replied ‘ I spent most of the time just serving tea’.I know of some mystics who are very sensitive to the light or darkness contained in food. Food containing light would often be prepared with intention and infused with baraka (spiritual grace). In such cooking, its normal for the cook to engage in zikr (remembrance) while cooking.

Dinner time offers a good center for family and a good opportunity for tarbeyah as I’m discovering. It offers an opportunity for prayer, preparation, service, coming together, cleaning, adab (etiquette), humor, story telling amongst other things. With the right intention and receptivity, the dinning table may also be a place of sohbet (spiritual discourse).  I learned of one Shiekha who would often take her students out after Fajr (the morning prayer) to a cafe and engage in sohbet there.  Indeed, my own deepest experience during a Turkey retreat last year, occurred not in a mosque or formal zikr session but at the breakfast table.

Here’s a bowl of fruit for you
With apple pieces and pear bites too
With kiwi slices and banana rounds
Just the size for little hands
I don’t always have the words to say
Or the perfect bedtime tale to tell
To say I’m sorry things aren’t quite
The way we would really like
That even so, it’s still ok.
Perhaps you already know
You tell me
Every story has bad parts
Here’s a bowl of fruit for you
Of apple, pear and kiwi bites.

Poem by Rabia Saida Spiker