This collection of essays and reflections, interspersed with recipes, is more a handbook for conscious cooking than a cookbook. Heavily influenced by Buddhist philosophy–the author is a practicing Zen Buddhist–the lessons imparted are equally applicable to any cook’s forays into the kitchen, whether you’re Buddhist or not, whether you cook professionally, for your family or simply for yourself.
The reflective essays before each group of recipes attempt to illustrate the interplay between our spiritual lives and the tasks of our everyday lives, especially cooking, eating and cleaning up afterward. As Brown says in his introduction: “After all, this is where we live: with things that are not just things, and with meaning that can be more real than things. I want the spiritual to reach the kitchen. Otherwise it is empty of significance.”
If you would like to start practicing conscious cooking–to be consciously aware of the tasks you perform in the kitchen, of the connections between the foods you eat and the world you live in–this book is the perfect beginner’s guide. And the simple, everyday vegetarian recipes will fortify you with the basics for your own experiments.