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Falling Back in Love

How reclaiming the joy and love of food leads to mindful eating.

Photo of Vicky Gu
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I'm always asked how I have time to cook most of my meals given our "busybusy" lives here in America.

This question is already a problem.

It's not that I have immense amounts of free time to cook as I please; it's that regardless of my schedule, I make time. I don't even consider "not having time," because when something is so crucial that you can't live without it, one doesn't simply go without.

Food is a sustaining pillar of life, but the way we treat our food and our bodies speaks otherwise. Busy city dwellers eat out for convenience or order meal kit deliveries straight home. We've developed a hands off approach to food sourcing, preparation, and consumption - in the process losing the desire to know the journey of farm to belly.

Noma, Copenhagen


I count myself blessed that cooking and baking are two of my great life joys, but living in Copenhagen for 4 months and studying New Nordic culinary culture took those two loves to even greater depths. Four core principles of New Nordic culinary culture include: purity, freshness, simplicity, and ethics. I believe the Nordic essence proves they not only apply to food and drink; they are the sustenance of life. 

And then the privilege of dining at Noma: 'twas love and life.To be served by the very chefs who cooked my food, to be able to ask all the questions I wanted about my food, to take delight in tasting unintuitive flavor amounted to no less than euphoria.

My Asian-American heritage has also instilled in me a deep belief in communal meals and intricate preparation processes. In Asian cultures, meals are times to not only eat but to sculpt whole meals out of ingredient parts, to gather and share life.

Cooking is creating; consumption is conviviality. 

I've realized that not everyone takes so much joy in eating (much less cooking). Cooking is time consuming and intimidating, and food is just fuel to keep us going. But what if these weren't mere activities or means to an end; what if eating and knowing our food were delight and love?

And once we fall in love with something, how could we bear to waste it?

Also posted on Medium.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Why do you eat? What are your greatest loves? When was the last time you cooked a meal with friends or family (whom you don't live with)?

Tell us about your work experience:

I'm a mix of design and business: a natural designer (UX & freelance experience) but academically trained in strategy. Involved in the entrepreneurial community in DC/SF.

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Photo of Kate Rushton

Thank you for your post, Vicky! It is clear that your culinary and cultural experiences have resulted in a unique perspective on food. Your questions are very thought provoking for me. I simply can't remember the last time I cooked for friends or family. I think I have gotten into the trap of working hard and seeing ready-made food as a treat or reward for my hard work. After a busy day I tend to snack and at work I tend to eat a “meal deal” at my desk. So, it is only at the weekends that I would consider cooking anything. Even then it would be something simple like pasta and sauce. I think I have gotten into a habit of eating things for comfort and energy without considering where the food comes from or how it was prepared. I doubt I am the only one with this perspective. I actually have a question for you. As someone who is trained in the culinary arts, what is your opinion on these posts?

Photo of Vicky Gu

Kate Rushton Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Kate! I totally love all those ideas - I bring lunch every day unless I have a preplanned lunch meeting. I honestly prefer packing lunch when I can since it's healthier, I know what I like to eat, and I bring what I know I can finish. As for the last article, twice cooked food is a standard in Asian culinary culture too, so I'm all for that!

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