Thursday, April 15, 2010

Food and Life

היום ששה עשר יום שהם שני שבועות ושני יומים בעמר
Today is the sixteenth day, making two weeks and two days of the omer
גבורא שבתפארת
A day of strength in a week of compassion

I am a fan of Ed Brown's cookbooks--especially the early recipes inspired by his service at Tassajara, the Zen Monastery. I learned to bake bread from The Tassajara Bread Book. Tassajara Cooking is one of my go-to books for the basics of cooking vegetables. The dishes in The Tassajara Recipe Book are wonderfully flavorful, and bring me back to the times I have stayed there.

I am also drawn to his writings, as he reflects on food and food preparation through the lens of his Zen practice. In his words you hear the philosophies that infuse his life. Today I share this introduction to the section "Planning Meals" from Tassajara Cooking. The wisdom contained therein can be applied to more that simply cooking.

Nothing left in the kitchen but few odds and ends you have to dig out of the refrigerator? Faced with unlimited choice in a market? Either way, you have to take what's there. At first you dread it. Later you come to enjoy it.
Respond to each thing, each vegetable, each situation. More and more, start with what is actually there instead of with some preconceived notion. This is how a cook's real creativity and confidence are developed. Learning to tolerate more, to appreciate more, we learn to cook the way we want to, and to cook for others also.

No comments: