A Taste of Heaven and Earth has the right proportions of heaven and
earth. It doesn't gag our throats with philosophy, but rather seasons our
cooking and eating with small morsels of refledtion. It's a wonderful book
to read, taste...and keep forever. It knows that cooking with care is more
important than just about anything, and that food is a sacred path to the
Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul
Vegetarian and Zen in persuasion, this volume is beautifully conceived: not
only does Vitell search various culinary traditions for unusual yet
appropriate offerings--sushi, raita, couscous, crepes, tostadas--but
Morningstar, a Buddhist nun, calls on pen and ink to set the scene with
improvisational abandon: a frog opens the soup chapter; a rough-and-ready
tomato sits on the guacamole page, as if about to burst in two.
Sophisticated simplicity is Vitell's apparent standard; her recipes have a
spare purity, and though her directions are thankfully replete with the
usual details, she supplies unusual asides: Buddhist stories, jokes, or
evocative prose to usher in a meal. So while Zen taste may not be
everyone's, the book is unfailingly impressive in conception and execution,
and may very well win converts.
If you like low-dairy vegetarian food, check out A Taste of Heaven and
Earth. Written by San Francisco's Bettina Vitell. It's a Zen approach
to cooking and eating.
Vitell, who served for a year as head cook at a Zen monastery in New York,
knows how to make food delicious through simplicity. She's also a certified
Sensory Awareness leader, but you needn't be a Zen follower of even a
vegetarian to appreciate her recipes. Published by HarperPerrenial, A
Taste of Heaven and Earth was nominated for the Julia Child IACP award
for best health cookbook of 1994.
Jim Wood, the San Francisco Examiner
This engaging cookbook can help you develop your culinary skills and
knowledge on Zen Buddhism simultaneously. The chapters are divided by
suggestions on how to make your kitchen time a practice in mindfulness,
teaching us that cooking can help us grow connected to our everyday
Recipes range from the elegantly simple dashi, a Japanese broth, to
complicated pies and tarts. Vitell stresses Japanese, Indian and Mexican
tastes in her main dishes. The Honey Mustard dressing, Asian Peanut Sauce
and other toppings add zest to pasta and vegetables. Unusual raitas stray
from the typical yogurt and cucumbers, using ginger, honey, coconut and
tomatoes for flavoring.
The drawings and text add an esoteric note to Vitell's wonderful recipes.
As she tells us, the kitchen is a place to transform your senses and your
food--and this cookbook can show you how.
The simplicity of the recipes in A Taste of Heaven and Earth, by
Bettina Vitell (HarperPerennial, $14), reflects the author's spiritual
philosophy as well as her approach to cooking. Vitell asks you to experience
food, not just swallow it--to feed both body and soul. She wants you to
see the colors, smell the aromas and taste the flavors. By savoring such
basics, she says, we can learn to savor life as a whole.