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 soul.
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.
Publishers Weekly

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 lives.

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.
Veggie Life

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.
American Health

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