Blog: Chef Jemichel
by chef jem

The Three-stone Hearth

Part VIII (Meaning of the Name) in the Vision Statement of a Berkeley based Community Supported Kitchen known as "Three Stone Hearth"

Date:   11/8/2010 6:31:33 PM   ( 5 y ) ... viewed 4105 times

"From ancient times, human beings have created a simple and functional hearth by placing three large stones in a triangle pattern. A fire is then built in the center of the triangle, and either a cooking pot or a flat cooking stone is balanced on the stones for cooking. Some foods are also cooked directly in the fire. This classical hearth form is still used throughout much of the world today.

Among Mayan peoples, the three-stone hearth has sacred and cosmological meaning as well. In sacred stories dating back to ancient times, three hearthstones were placed in the center of the universe, and it was from this three stone hearth that the God of Maize was born. This sacred place can be identified in the heavens. Among Maya peoples today, three stars that are part of the constellation we call Orion are called the three hearthstones, and the nebula at their center is called the fire. ...

In contemporary Mayan societies, the three stone hearth is still often the center of the household. In the morning, a woman's first activity is to light the hearth. This is a practical act, but also a sacred, home, and community.

The three stone hearth is symbolic for us as well. It is a reminder that cooking and food have been central to community life throughout human history, and that when we prepare food we are engaging in a fundamental, universal, and profoundly meaningful human activity.

The household's hearth is a spiritual center, a place of connection between earthly daily life and the divine. It is a place of creation and transformation.

This aspect is not unique to the Maya in many traditional societies, the hearth is both a center of daily life and a place with spiritual meaning. Even in modern English, the word hearth is both a place for a cooking or heating fire, as well as a symbol for family"

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