Lower Lies, Higher Zen

As I have been thinking about my reflection for this week, I found myself wanting to go back to where I started almost two years ago, the whole notion that the kitchen and the process of preparing food can be a state of Zen. Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk, wrote this about Zen. He said it is “A special transmission outside the scriptures; No dependence on words and letters; Direct pointing to the mind of man; seeing into one's nature and attaining Buddhahood.” Being able to attain a zenful state is the ability to realize a state of enlightenment in one’s own time. “Zazen melts away the mind-forged distances that separate man from himself; leads one beyond himself as knower, to himself as known. In Zazen, there is no reality outside what exists here and now. (http://www.amacord.com/taste/essays/zen.html).” Over the last two years I have listened to many people tell me why they do not cook, are scared to cook, do not have the knowledge to cook, and the list goes on.
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Nothing Says Lovin’ Like Somethin’ From The Oven

I remember growing up seeing the Pillsbury commercials with the little dough boy, Poppin’ Fresh, who would always say “Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven. He was so cute, he made you want to go out and buy those products and have biscuits, turnovers, and pies straight from the oven. This for me was homemade. It was my idea of something from the oven, homemade baking. The next version of homemade I remember was my mom getting some frozen dough from the store and baking that in the oven. I remember loving that bread. It always tasted so much better then the store bought. I especially loved it when it first came out of the oven and you ate it warm with melted butter on it. Those were the days. Several years ago, I learned how to make bread from scratch. I have not made it in a long time, as my schedule had not allowed it.
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Albert Einstein is my sous chef.

Ok, so maybe he is not exactly my sous chef in the literal sense, but so much of what he has said and written inspires me in my life and in my cooking. For example, one of the things he said that most people have heard is “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” I have had my insanity experiences with food. I remember eating this broccoli and cheese casserole my mother had made once. It looked so good and you know everyone says you eat with your eyes first. And so I am looking at this casserole and it looked so good and so I put a significant serving on my plate and expected it to taste as good as it looked. It didn’t. And then I thought ok, it really can’t taste as bad as I thought that it tasted. It did. It took me taking a few more bites of it, for some reason expecting that the next bite would somehow taste better or different before I realized that this whole process was insane.
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