Satori and the Senses

There is this experience in Zen Buddhism called Satori. In its most simplistic terms, it is about seeing the self-nature. While this has traditionally been used to talk about the journey of one’s personal journey to enlightenment, it has also been an important concept for me in terms of my cooking. When I come to appreciate the true nature of the foods with which I am working, it changes the way I experience them sensorally. There is this moment when what I have created looks right, tastes right, smells right and as a whole dish makes sense.
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It was more then just a cookie.

Last week, I wrote about Zoë’s cousin Bruce and his request for lemon drop cookies. To be honest, I have never made them before. I figured they could not be that hard to make, but it was one of the things he remembered about his wife who had passed away. So the morning he was leaving, I woke up early and began making lemon drop cookies and quiche he had requested. I knew this was exactly what he had wanted this holiday season, so I knew he was going to be excited. What I was not prepared for was the depth of his response. He had no idea I was going to make him two quiche to bring home, along with a myriad of other leftovers from Christmas breakfast and lunch. So that in itself excited him. I am not sure he expected I would actually do this for him.
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Who Knew It Was This Easy?

Have you ever bought something at the grocery store just about every week because for some reason you thought it had to be so difficult and impossible to make at home. This is how I felt about tortillas. I cannot tell you how many tortillas, corn and flour; I have bought or eaten in my life. I have had whole wheat ones, tomato basil, spinach, and white flour ones. I had bought corn ones at the grocery store until a friend turned me on to the corn ones at the local Mexican grocery store. What do I love about tortillas? What is there not to love? You can stir fry them and throw them in with some eggs, cheese, peppers and other fresh herbs to make migas. You can use them as a wrap to make a breakfast burrito, a sandwich wrap, burritos filled with whatever and let us not forget the amazing quesadilla
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It is more then just a kitchen!

When I first was led to foodbuzz.com, I was not sure whether my writing about food would fit. I am not a restaurant reviewer, nor do I spend hours developing recipes. Yet, for me, food is so much more then that. My philosophy of food has changed dramatically over the years. When I was younger, food ranged from something that you had to eat to avoid being punished (my mother could bake, but not cook) to something which amazingly appeared before your eyes at a restaurant and you did not have to do the dishes. Food came from the small markets, the grocery store, and the backyard. My favorite foods were the raspberries that never quite made it from the raspberry patch to my mother’s kitchen and the pickles, pickled tomatoes, and sauerkraut at the pickle king. There have been times in my life when food was what you ate because you were hungry, but for a good part of my life, food was a source of comfort.
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Lessons from Cabbage Casserole

It is amazing the things that you can learn from a single meal. My wife’s favorite dish, which I have been commanded to make weekly, is my cabbage casserole. A dear friend of ours, who is staying with us for a few weeks, loves it as well. The best part about making this casserole, which by the way is not my favorite, is the look on their faces. Sometimes it looks like they are having orgasms in their mouth. I know that look because I have had that experience as well. My guess is that you know that experience as well. You develop an emotional reaction and relationship to this dish that surpasses description. I have several, but one of mine would be a jalapeno bagel with lox and cream cheese. But that is another reflection, back to the cabbage casserole. Watching them last night as the two of them nearly finished off a casserole that was supposed to serve 6-8 (lol); I had a series of epiphanies.
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