Food

The ethics–and practice–of eating
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    Ten Thousand Cups of Tea Paid Member

    When I traveled through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, and Nepal, I spent many hours in tea shops. To order in any of these countries, I needed to know only one word: chai. Few other words are shared in languages as diverse as Turkish, Urdu, Parsi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Tamil, Hindi, Newari, and Nepali. On a typical day I easily drank six cups of tea. Once I made some calculations: If I drank six cups a day, in a month I would consume 180 cups of tea. After a year the total would be 2,190 cups. Then, if I considered the five years I lived with Tibetan refugees in India, I had drunk a grand total of 10,950 cups of tea. More »
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    Cilantro Days Paid Member

    I have always loved the dance of cleaning the kitchen, washing the vegetables, cutting, cooking, cleaning again. My culinary career began when I apprenticed with a Swiss chef at age seventeen. Cooking was art, it was dance, but in Guatemala, I learned that it was medicine as well. More »
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    Tasting Darkness Paid Member

    Whenever I sith with a bowl of soup before me, listening to the murmur that penetrates like the far-off shrill of an insect, lost in contemplation of flavors to come, I feel as if I were being drawn into a trance. The experience must be something like that of the tea master who, at the sound of the kettle, is taken from himself as if upon the sigh of the wind in the legendary pines of Onoe. More »
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    Eating and the Wheel of Life Paid Member

    Knowing how much is enough when eating...This is the teaching of the buddha. —Dhammapada “Knowing how much is enough when eating.” It sounds so simple. Yet how often the matter of “enough” trips us up. For much of the world, getting enough to eat is the problem. Here in America we eat too much. Two-thirds of the population is overweight, nearly a third clinically obese; meanwhile, our ideal of physical beauty keeps getting thinner and thinner. More »
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    Rearranging the Clouds Paid Member

    It’s been two weeks since I took a vow of silence and as far as I can tell, no one has noticed. When people come into the kitchen, I simply nod as they talk, mastering the art of “um,” that neutral little sound that expresses so much, reveals so little. I sense that my reputation as a good conversationalist increases daily. When I first went silent, I brought a small pad and pen with me into the kitchen at the retreat center. I kept fingering the pad and pen in my pocket, planning to write, “Silence.” Or maybe, “Silent Vow,” but I've never had to use either. More »
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    The Dining Project: The Art of Nurturing Paid Member

    I grew up in Taiwan in the mid-seventies. Most of my free time was spent in the kitchen, not cooking, but serving as a (fat) guinea pig for the family chef. At that time, we knew a number of families who had their own chefs. Most of these families were Kuomintang elite, wealthy and influential through their association with the ruling party, who had fled China with the Nationalists in the late forties and who had been residing in Taiwan comfortably, if not luxuriously, ever since. The families we knew traded chefs periodically in order to enjoy a change of cuisine. Whenever a new chef would arrive in our home, he would always bring two things: a fine lacquer box containing his well-cared-for and well-used cooking implements, and a collection of his own secret sauces. More »