Thursday, 8 September 2011

Participation in Occupation 2

So back again for more in Semester 2! Bit of a different slant on things this semester..we will now be exploring participation in occupation and the needs that this meets. 

I am going to talk activity I love but also one that I do out of necessity.

Green (1968) agrees, "the gathering of nourishment, not only necessary; it is also endless. ... The purpose of this activity is to provide for the seeds of comsumption: food is taken from the earth, after all, in order to be consumed" (p. 17). 

Cooking is an important part of my day - not only does it feed my family but also I love food and the variety that food can deliver.  I 'm not a creative cook but I do enjoy trying new things. My skill of cooking comes from my mum and some of the meals (especially those I call comfort foods) I cook today are based on what we as a family would eat when I was a child. 

Often when I am cooking I am juggling other things, but I still do get satifaction from it - I enjoy standing at the bench chopping veg - there is something therapeutic about it.  Cooking can focus the mind and often gives me thinking time.

I enjoy the planning of cooking too - it helps me feel in control of that part of my family's life...and I like to feel in control!!

So in a few key words and phrases what does cooking mean to me?
caring for my family, trying new things, satisfaction , relaxation, thinking time, planning.

If I was to look at cooking through my OT eyes however these words change somewhat: life skills, sequencing, budgeting, fine motor skills, relaxation, purposeful/meaningful activity, and routine. 

Finally if I think about cooking mindfully - by which I mean focusing on the here and now of the cooking experience what would help and hinder me to do so?

Certainly the distractions of my family wouldn't help me cook mindfully or the distractions of my thoughts about what I need to do next.  The following is an extract of mindfulness when I was cooking sausages and beans for the children:

Opening the drawer for the tin opener I note the clatter my hand is making from moving the appliances around, I feel the coolness of the steel knives on my fingers, my eyes scan the drawer knowing I am looking for something black and silver.  I sense the way I am standing - feet back, bum out, ..Diesel is between me and the cupboards again...I note my mind is not in the here and now when it comes to my thoughts-it is focussing on what next...


Green, T. F. (1968).  Work, leisure and the American schools.  New York, USA: Random House.


  1. It is quite interesting that you mention that cooking has a therapeutic effect on your mind as you simultaneously are in the process of feeding your family whilst "...juggling a million other things..." After reading this article, I later went on to prepare dinner for my family in the evening and tried to consciously be aware of what was going through my mind. Lo and behold, as you stated in your posting, my mind was hardly on the 'kitchen things' at all. Also, it is wonderful that your mum passed on her cooking experience to you which I am sure you are passing onto your own children (sons included as they will make some lucky girl a good husband). However as a visual learner myself, I would have loved to see some food graphics on this posting.

  2. Thanks for the comment Godhelp.. funny it hadn't even occured to me to put photos on..I am a reader writer.. but as we have learnt it is important to consider other's learning needs so I will put a couple on for you!