I remember Mama . . . my mother. I remember my mother cooking in the kitchen. Sometimes a piece of food would drop on the floor. She would say, "that's Mother Earth's share." I realized at a young age that it was important to honor Mother Earth.
Mom often composted food by burying food scraps in the garden. At the Brooklyn house, she often would only compost the coffee grounds and egg shells. In our Breezy Point house, our garden was in beach sand. There she would bury everything in the garden to amend the soil. Now the thing to remember when composting or burying things in the garden is to avoid placing meat, bones, cheese, oils and return vegetable and fruit cuttings, egg shells and coffee grounds back to Mother Earth.
I still use this technique today. The land I live on is primarily sugar sand. I received the training I needed from dear mom, so I ammend the soil and do a bit of lasagna gardening. I layer kitchen waste, leaves and potting soil to build up a garden bed.
The spiritual aspect of this is the deeper connection with all life. When I place my scraps in the garden, it is also my intent that the creatures who live in my 'hood might enjoy a snack. My sweetheart, Vincent, feeds the animals with intention. He puts the bones, leftovers too old to eat and even meat juices from cooking into a dish under the Royal Poincianna tree. In the morning, there isn't a scrap left and the plate is licked clean.
When I was on a mountain in Mexico in the late 1990's I was part of a Native America Church group under the lineage of Grandfather Wallace Black Elk. I actually sat in Sweat Lodge with Grandfather and was one of the main communicators for Grandfather as most people were Spanish speaking. (He is much younger in this picture then when I met him!)
Everything we did during those days was sacred and ceremonial. Before we fed the people (sometimes it was over 200 in camp) we fed the fire first. Then the elders were fed, then the children and then the adults. Even the manner in which we cut the vegetables was sacred. Did you know there is a male and female side to every fruit and vegetable? When you cut it in a certain way with consciousness, it allows for the masculine and feminine energy to be dispersed into the food.
Everything we do can be done with consciousness in a respectful and ceremonial way. When we do this, the flavor of the food and the flavor of life shifts. When that happens, our consciousness shifts and life opens up in far more magical and mysterious ways. When you cook, are you conscious and present with what you are doing or are you thinking of other things?