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    Dessert of Divination Paid Member

    My first brush with divination was at the Chinese restaurant next to the bookstore on the Boulder mall in the 1970s. High on sweet and sour chicken, dizzy with hot pineapple, I couldn’t wait for the moment when that slightly sweet, yoni-shaped biscuit would reveal my fortune. What did the future hold? I didn’t even know how much I wanted to know until this all-knowing cookie, with its little tongue of white paper, promised a verdict full of misspellings and intrigue. You will meet a mystrous friend. Yes! More »
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    Golden Ghee Paid Member

    Once, in a fit of industry, I set out to make the thickest whipped cream in the world, as if the density could somehow finally satisfy my childish desire for it—on ice cream, in hot chocolate, straight into the mouth from the nozzle. So I poured a carton of heavy cream into a bowl, stood on a stool, and blended and blended until the motor started to smoke. The blades could no longer cut through the solid hunk of dairy stuttering around in the mixer: I’d accidentally made butter. Though I was disappointed, the experiment was eye-opening. I now understood the link between milk and butter. It’s so easy to forget where our basics come from when they are dealt to us by the industrial food complex. More »
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    Breakfast in Bumthang Paid Member

    One of the local radio deejays told me that the first breakfast café is opening soon in Thimphu, the busy capital of Bhutan. Breakfast is a Western concept that has crept in along with all the other changes Bhutan faces. Aid workers posted in the country from places like Scandinavia and Philadelphia have needs and desires: they suffer from withdrawal from their morning comforts of cappuccino, muesli, baked goods, and cream cheese. You will not find muesli on the shelves of your village general shop, or if you do it’s often stale and flavored with the diesel fumes of the journey it took to get here. Cornflakes are common in Bhutan, but they are not the crispy melt-in-your- mouth kind of cornflakes you may be used to. Bhutanese cornflakes are hard as dimes and meant to be soaked in hot tea. More »
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    A Perfect Cup of Tea Paid Member

    I am real, and the tea is real. I am in the present. I don’t think of the past. I don’t think of the future. There is a real encounter between me and the tea, and peace, happiness, and joy are possible during the time I drink. —Thich Nhat Hanh It could be a poem or a novel or lyrics to a blues ballad, I’m not sure, but I’ve been keeping a list of all the terrible, no good, very bad cups of tea I make. There are just so many ways it can go wrong. Like the time I was trying to be considerate by preheating a special guest’s tea cup with hot water and then forgot and poured the tea into the full cup (the light was dim). Like all the times I’ve tried to be thrifty and reuse old leaves or old bags well past their point of releasing any worthy flavor. More »
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    All-giving Coconut Paid Member

    As the daughter of a South American living in the Colorado Rockies, I took part in an annual migration every winter. As soon as school let out, I was tucked under my mother’s wing and flown to a beach in Mexico or some Caribbean island where I was let loose while she defrosted for a week or two with a hat tipped over her eyes, a cold beer nearby. My days revolved around food, much as they do now. I’d take mom’s pesos and seek out the local fare, testing malted sodas and plantain chips, sucking on sugar cane. I think I accidentally ate a dove once. More »
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    Meditation Matcha Paid Member

    Eyelids are such lightweight flaps, fringed with mere millimeters of lash, and yet, in the midst of an afternoon practice session, when lunch is slogging its way through the intestines, these delicate folds heave downward, leaden and defiant. No amount of willpower prevents them from drawing over the globe of the eyeball, shutting, shut, until the head tips to the side, the lids flutter, and the meditator straightens his back, a heart shuddering from the shock of a short dream interrupted. The simple task of staying awake is one of the mightiest challenges of meditation practice. More »