‘If I listened to my body, I would live on pizza and wine’

Dominique McMullan is trying a new experience each week. Today, she goes to a mindfulness cookery class

The class was for people who were looking for less screen time and more time getting their hands dirty.

The class was for people who were looking for less screen time and more time getting their hands dirty.

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This week I went to a mindful cookery class. Mindfulness doesn’t inspire the eye-rolling it once did. The class was for people who were looking for less screen time and more time getting their hands dirty. Everyone was there because they wanted to slow down; a common theme in my conversations lately.

The class took place at Fumbally Stables in Dublin 8 in a warm, candle-lit kitchen. We were greeted with tea and sweet-pea guacamole. We sat on stools around an old concrete worktop, surrounded by pickles and other large, mysterious jars full of cloudy concoctions.

We were told to think of the kitchen as the yoga studio and the chopping board as the mat. The great thing about cooking (other than eating) is that it forces you to be present. You can’t take out your phone or let your mind wander too much to all-the-other-things-you-should-be-doing. You’d burn the carrots.

Instead of denying or indeed indulging, we talked about listening to what food our bodies wanted and needed. This is called intuitive eating. I worried that if I always listened to what my body wanted I would live on pizza and wine.

We paired up and learnt how to make lemon shortbread biscuits. My partner Jane grated the lemon, while I passed the dough through my fingers. It felt silky and delicious. Jane smiled and we talked and laughed as I snuck bits of the dough for nibbles.

The kitchen filled with the fresh zesty smell of lemons, and then the heady aroma of biscuits baking. The group grew warmer too as we talked over a lunch of creamy mushroom pasta and soft sour dough bread. Jane’s and my biscuits were slightly misshapen but delicious; we ate them hot and crumbly with sugar sifted on top.

While eating a buttered piece of toast the next day, I stood in my kitchen and allowed myself to sink into my senses. Food can be complicated but this class made it simple. Eating and talking felt like it should, like home. My soul and my body left well fed.

See The Calm Kitchen on Facebook.

Do you have suggestions for what Dominique should try next? Email your ideas to dmcmullan@irishtimes.com

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