QUESTION: I heard people saying that the eater absorbs the consciousness of the cook. Is that true?
First of all, what is described as “consciousness” here is really referring to the “mind.”
Yes, of course, the mind is influenced by everything it experiences – so eating food cooked by a greedy person will make your mind more greedy. And yes, of course, the mind influences everything it creates – so a greedy person puts some “greed germs” into the food he or she cooks.
But can we please be a little bit realistic and practical here for a second?
Getting OCD about who has cooked what is like standing next to a roaring jet engine and complaining that the person next to you has their iPod headpones turned up too loud. Our minds are always agitated and unsettled by huge and powerful influences. We cannot notice the effect of eating food cooked by a person who has a certain frame of mind.
Except we can all notice the most powerful mental state: love. If someone loves you very much, the way they cook and serve you the food has a very obviously delicious taste to it, much beyond the sugar, salt and spices. So, when food is cooked by really sincere bhaktas there is something noticable about its taste and how it delights our minds in a sublime way.