I have just read Newtown Nutrition's latest blog inviting us to 'tune into food textures'.
One of their nutritionists writes about hot cross buns. She says we can enjoy their crunch by toasting them. Or we can use the microwave and savour them by appreciating their chewiness.
The principle applies to all foods. We can munch on raw carrot sticks with hummus or some other flavoursome dip. Or we can enjoy the sweet honied sensation that comes with steaming our carrots.
She's encouraging us to consider how we interact with food in order to maximise our sense of pleasure and nourishment in eating. It's about trying to undo the damage some people have done to their relationship with food through a long history of self-denial with dieting.
Recently I recalled some advice her colleague gave me a few years ago, which was to eat 'raw' chocolate. It happened as I was waiting at the checkout at Harris Farm Markets in my local shopping centre and I spotted a strategically placed selection of raw chocolate. So I made an impulse buy, a good one as it turns out.
Raw chocolate is minimally processed so that it offers a higher level of antioxidants. It's also expensive, with six tiny squares costing $6.49. That means you buy less of it and consume it thoughtfully over a much longer period of time. I eat one square at a time and savour its firm outside and soft interior and the flavour that endures for hours.
I find myself wanting to fit ordinary daily activities such as eating into 'the right order of the universe' by studying spirituality and remembering my past exposure to it.
I recall the Application of the Senses in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola. He suggests that while contemplating scenes from the Christian Gospels, we might 'smell the infinite fragrance and taste the infinite sweetness'.
Ignatius also stresses the need to take time out during our day to identify moments of heightened awareness, which obviously include taste sensations.
Recently I've been reading about 'Embodied Spirituality', which focuses on bodily sensations as stepping stones towards our experience of wholeness as human beings.
The Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis speaks of the 'warm physical body which smells of sea, soil, and human sweat'. He then puts it in the context of Christian spirituality. 'The Word, in order to touch me, must become warm flesh. Only then do I understand - when I can smell, see, touch.'