Just watched an interesting film my mom recommended to me called How to Cook Your Life. You can download and watch it for free from Netflix. Or buy it here.
It's a documentary starring Zen priest and chef Edwards Espe Brown who translates Zen Buddhism to cooking and life. Sounds dry, I know, but he brings up some beautiful points about the making of food and it was really quite moving. My favorites parts:
- There is a Buddhist saying that goes something like this, "treat your food as if it were your eyes." And he goes on to explain this in terms of the preparation of food and the cleaning and maintaining of your kitchen tools. I challenge you all to try this, treat everything you handle in your kitchen as if it were your own eyes.
- When you cook, just cook. It is a time not for thinking about the school work you need to finish, re-hashing the day's dramas, or worrying about all the chores you have to do. A Zen master once told Chef Brown, "When you wash the rice, wash the rice. When you cut the carrots, cut the carrots. When you stir the soup, stir the soup." Cooking can be your daily meditation.
- Instead of looking at something you are cooking or growing as something you need to master or control, try and ask the food or plant, what can I do to assist you in becoming the best possible food or plant?
We are in such a hurry to eat these days. Yesterday as I was creaming the butter for a double batch of cookies by hand and cursing my not having the good fortune of a Kitchenaid mixer and really wanting to turn on the radio or TV for some distraction from the strenuousness, so I stopped. This time I was just going to cream the butter, to really feel it, experience it. And hey, it wasn't so bad. Actually, the cookies turned out to be the best I've ever made.