It seems these terms can mean everything, and therefore, barely anything. To me they hold a galaxy of meanings.
I am a vegan, and this is, as of today, the easiest and most efficient way I have found of making a statement with my plate. But my sister is an omnivore who grows her own vegetables in her tiny parisian appartement, my boyfriend is a portuguese cod and pork eater who found love with his first spoonful of tahini, and so many people around me are trying to eat less meat, more local, sometimes organic, or simply to try and do better.
I would not dare consider myself better than them.
As all of those ideas are growing, taking an importance they never had before, the diversity of approaches can also seem quite messy and hard to see through.
In the end, the way I see it, what really matters is that we all make a decision, whichever one it is. Unlike breathing, eating should not be an abstract, unconscious act, it should, and already has, become almost a political one.
Whether you want it or not, with every spoonful there are animals dying, cruelty, humans starving, others working in inhumane conditions, resources being destroyed, gas created, trucks and sometimes planes transporting the goods…
Lives are, literally, being destroyed, simply for us to be able to enjoy a nice meal, because “it’s just too good”. And enough is enough.
As a cook, I understand as much as anyone, the honest, physical pleasure, of good food, of rich, filling nourishment. As a human being, I cannot participate in this industry any longer.
So what is conscious cooking, conscious eating ?
It is anything you want it to be, it is a positive act of taking back the control over what you ingest, what goes into your body.
If eating local, picking your own food and talking to your farmer at the market is your thing, great, because the people who spend a lifetime growing food for us should be respected and acknowledged.
If you are growing your own food, whether that means owning a farm where happy chickens run around or having that tiny little basil plant on your balcony, you are still beginning to recreate the connexion between human beings and the produce that feeds them.
But maybe to you, being conscious means buying vegetarian food from the nearest organic supermarket in the city center, or simply eating more vegetables. Or maybe it means transforming your produce yourself, cooking in a more traditional way, from scratch, preserving, canning, fermenting, baking your own bread.
Being conscious means being aware of what you eat, how it was grown, or killed, how it was transformed, brought to you, who did all of this for you, and what life they have, but also who will not get to eat today, and why.
It means understanding fully what a plate of food represents, and how much more it can be than a passive barely defrosted meal swallowed in front of the television. Few things are as inherent to life, as necessary to our survival, as eating, every day, three times a day : let’s make it count.