Ahhhhhh, the smells of a fired-up grill, wafting the odor of charcoal in the air. I can hear the sizzle of cooking food. Mmmmmmm, it's the start of a great summertime ritual, the backyard barbeque, and Independence Day is always the semi-official start to Grilling Season.
You think all is well and right in the world, but could it be even better? Why, yes it can! You can apply Feng Shui principles to your choice of grills to enhance your BBQ-ing even more! Oh the joys of conscious living, the Feng Shui way.
“The fiery chi energy of a BBQ, mixed with the freshness of nature, makes a perfect way to bring your friends and family together in a fun, informal setting. The fire encourages people to be outgoing and expressive, and being outside promotes a wonderful feeling of freedom.” -- Steven Saunders, from his book Feng Shui Food
It's cool to note that the type of grill you use can actually “influence” the energy of the food you're cooking. A METAL grill is the most “yang” or active energy, which will focus and contain the most heat. An EARTH grill (brick oven, stone BBQ) is more “yin” and helps to diffuse heat. When you're using a stone and/or brick oven, use a metal grate over the top to use the productive cycle of elements -- remember that EARTH supports METAL. The most “yin” style of grill is a hollow in the ground with a grate across the top. This provides a gentle heat for cooking food.
Alright, you’ve got the grill, but now what should you use to cook with? According to Steven Saunders, WOOD is the best for a “light yin style of cooking,” with wood ash being the best. Charcoal burns hotter than wood, making it more yang and since charcoal holds heat longer, it’s the perfect choice when cooking for a large group of people.
Great grilling foods are fish, portabella mushrooms, and kabobs for different menu options besides burgers and hot dogs.
But maybe you don’t want to BBQ. What about a nice picnic lunch? In utilizing Feng Shui principles for a picnic, it’s all about location, location, location. Choosing a spot in the country will help you feel more relaxed or “yin”. A picnic in an urban park setting will be more “yang.”
Even Mother Nature adds to the excitement! A strong sun-shiny day will be much more active, energetic and yang, than an overcast or partly cloudy day. Wind = yang energy, while clouds/rain = yin.
Remember that the earliest school of thought in Feng Shui is the Form School. This takes into account land formations surrounding your space. Employ some of these principles when choosing your picnic location. A mountain setting is a yang environment with a strong vertical energy flow. The higher and rockier the terrain, the more yang and stimulating the picnic will be. Flat lowlands, prairies, and grasslands (think about what you see when you're driving through Nebraska) have a more yin or horizontal energy flow. This is ideal for social gatherings, parties, and even intimate picnics for two. A water source nearby also adds to the energy of the ambience you're trying to create. Sea water is more yang than fresh water (an ocean is more “active” than a lake or pond).
Since it's July and the height of summer, lets discuss how to use Feng Shui to throw a 4th of July party or any party this month. Lots of FIRE energy is going on this time of year! For this type of party, look to the SUCCESS/FAME Life Area of the Bagua (the FAR CENTER of any space). This area is activated by the color RED, the FIRE element, and the shape of a TRIANGLE.
To bring about the fire element into any July party, think fireworks, candles, grills, and sparklers. That's pretty easy!
You want to create lots of energy for an event in this Life Area, so the lighter the better. Bring the fire element into your flower arrangements by using brightly colored, contrasting colors, and/or flowers with pointy leaves placed in triangular, pyramid, or star-shaped vases. This will create a visually stimulating centerpiece and give the sense of more energy in the space. Placing the flowers on mirrors will also help to “add excitement” and create more light as the mirrors reflect light back up into your entertainment space.
Your place settings should be brightly colored and in unusual shapes; they don’t necessarily have to be identical either. Napkins, placemats, glasses, flatware, and plates are considered place settings. If you're the type of host that needs some sense of semblance on a buffet table (like me!), use placemats (or choose some fabric, mirrors, or trays) to help group foods.
The shape of this area is the triangle. This doesn’t mean you have to find triangular plates and the like, but you can group things in trios or threesomes to mimic the 3 points of a triangle or pyramid. You can offer 3 types of drinks (soda, beer, water), salads (lettuce, potato, 7 layer). You get the idea. And you can also use STARS as a symbol of SUCCESS/FAME; how applicable for an Independence Day party!
Menu ideas that would use Feng Shui principles include food that is RED, SPICY, and/or HOT with STRONG flavors. Think cilantro, peppers (any kind), shrimp, garlic, or any red fruit. For drinks, anything that “stimulates” works, like caffeine-filled beverages: coffee, soda, tea, sake, whiskey, or brandy are examples. Red wine, red sangria, or beer will also work.
Sample Foods for Great July Parties
- Fried jumbo shrimp or any other fried food
- Stir-fried vegetables
- Fresh vegetables
- Any RED or GREEN fruit
- Any meat or fish for the grill
- Shish kabobs
- Chips and salsa
- Avocado dip
- Any food made from animal products, including ice cream, cheese, honey, and yogurt