In a recent article for Munchies (the Vice food network), author Javier Cabral insightfully highlighted the connection between cooking and Zen Buddhism. One which has been practiced for many years, but is rarely spoken about.
Citing the time that he saw the film How To Cook Your Life in Hollywood, 2008 as a turning point in his life, Cabral describes in detail the practices and philosophies of the filmmakers, as well as the teachings which inspired them.
In How To Cook Your Life, Doris Dörrie met with a Zen priest from Fairfax, California named Edward Espe Brown. Brown, who was the author of the Tassajara cookbooks, which reached international acclaim and popularity, is also a philosopher, Zen teacher and master chef. Throughout the film, Brown speaks about his life as the pair bake, cook and achieve a unique form of enlightenment through their activities.
She participated in his lectures, watched the master in the kitchen and in his cooking classes. Under Edward Espe Browns guidance, cooking is more than just providing food. Cooking, or better, knowing how to cook, is a matter of caring for yourself and others. Without romanticizing Edward Espe Brown and his work, Doris Dörrie succeeds in capturing the magic moment where practical advice unlocks wisdom and deepness. A Zen monk shows us the sensuality of baking bread, the philosophy of radishes and the serenity of carrots. It is not just a culinary delight but also makes us a bit wiser.
Activities and mindfulness can be utilized to achieve many higher states, which makes this documentary a must see. Cabral describes how it helped to alleviate a great number of anxieties and personal worries. Hopefully, it will do the same for many others. You can check out the trailer for the film below.