Thinking & Eating by The School of Life
“Typically, however much we enjoy eating, we don't normally think that what we put on our plates is particularly meaningful.”
THINKING & EATING
I'm a big fan of The School of Life and have been wanting to work on my culinary skills, so I was very excited about this book.
On the opening pages, they state “we are interested in the way in which what we eat and what we cook interacts with our psychological needs. A dish can serve the same kind of purpose as a work of art, an item of clothing, or as a building: it too can 'materialise' - and hence render more permanent - an outlook we need in order to flourish.”
The book was written by a team of philosophers, chefs, and psychologists from The School of Life, and teaches us how to administer various ingredients to regulate and soothe our spirits.
Thinking & Eating is a book about what we should eat in order to feel like our best selves, an inspired marriage of psychology and cooking. This isn’t a traditional cookbook in that there’s a lot of fascinating and useful psychology information spread throughout.
The book is packed full of dishes that can be prepared at any time of day, from stews to soups, and curries to cakes.
I took a liking to how the sections are split up, especially at the beginning, which talks about key ingredients and what they symbolize. Foods such as the lemon, which is a symbol of hope, or the fig, a symbol of maturity.
Of course, I loved the avocado section. Avocados are a symbol of reassurance. The book states, “A capacity for reassurance is the fruit of a proper sense that we are now adults, and have the strength, freedom and intelligence to plot a way through our difficulties.”
I made the avocado pasta and it was divine. The recipe itself was easy to follow, despite the book not having many pictures, and the entire dish was ready in under fifteen minutes. The longest process was the boiling of the pasta. Making the deliciously creamy avocado sauce was as easy as chopping up all the ingredients and throwing them into the food processor.
My partner Charlie and I also got into the kitchen together and made the orange polenta cake. The recipe required very little ingredients, so this wasn't only an easy cake to make, but it was also relatively cheap. Charlie has celiac disease, and this cake is naturally gluten-free which was wonderful.
|Taste testing the orange polenta cake|
Other sections include looking after ourselves, eating with friends, and foods for thinking.
The School of Life is an organization built to help us find calm, self-understanding, resilience and connection - especially during troubled times. They place an emphasis on the need to understand ourselves better, so that we can secure serenity and make optimally reliable decisions, particularly around love and work.