Here is a story from a Zen kitchen experience about cutting vegetables. All the food is made by hand, in silence in a Zen kitchen. It’s another way to practice meditation.
Overheard in a Zen kitchen many years ago.
While the students were chopping quietly away at the vegetables to be prepared for the many mouths to be fed, a young woman looked at the Tenzo (Head of the kitchen) and dryly was heard to say, “Have you ever heard of a Cuisinart?”
No one said anything to her. Silence was and is a rule in the kitchen. I had to inwardly smile when she stated this obvious practical question. Why make people slave over vegetables? Why indeed? To be present in the moment is the goal. (Something I need to work on every day.)
My best ideas used to come to me when I was cooking. At the time, I was painting and writing every day. I would be preparing food and a great inspiration would come to me. However, I could not leave what I was cooking to go work on or to jot down my seemingly brilliant idea. During the time I was cooking I noticed, my mind was relaxed and I was happy. (Pay attention, dearie.)
Not paying attention – writing while I am cooking = burned food. Ugh!
Here’s a zucchini bread recipe that turned out very well. I found it at southernfood.com. I monkeyed with the recipe – see my notes at the end.
http://southernfood.about.com/od/zucchinibread/r/bl00819g.htm retrieved May 27, 2012.
“This is a delicious zucchini bread recipe made with shredded zucchini, cinnamon, vanilla, and chopped nuts. Feel free to use walnuts or pecans in this zucchini bread.”
Zucchini Bread Recipe
2 cups shredded raw zucchini
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
“Put zucchini in strainer and press or squeeze with hands to get some of the excess liquid out. In a mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, and oil together. Stir in the flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and walnuts, mixing just until all ingredients are combined. Add drained zucchini. Mix well. Pour into 2 greased and floured 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans. Bake the mixture in the oven for 55 to 60 minutes at 350° or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out with very little or no crumbs clinging to it.”
Notes: I used Olive oil, added about ¼ cup of coconut with the zucchini and sliced almonds instead of walnuts. Used a little less sugar 1 & 1/3 cups and sprinkled about a teaspoon of lemon juice on the zucchini. (Just to make it interesting.) The zucchini was not very wet. I let it drain then grated it by hand.
Your comments are welcome.