Just Enough: Vegan Recipes and Stories from Japan’s Buddhist Temples

Gesshin Claire Greenwood. New World Library, $17.95 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-1-60868-582-0
In this essay-focused cookbook, Greenwood (Bow First, Ask Questions Later), a meditation instructor in San Francisco, evocatively writes of her time in Japan. At age 24, she was ordained a Buddhist nun; two years later, she was in charge of the kitchen at a Japanese convent. An inviting narrator, Greenwood infuses the book with humility, addressing her own mistakes, including foolishly expecting Buddhism to allow her to escape adult responsibilities, as well as more philosophical discussions, such as cultural appropriation (she has qualms as “a white person writing a book on Japanese food,” but feels compelled to share what the Japanese nuns taught her). Buddhist teachings, such as the titular concept of “just enough,” are sprinkled throughout, making for a rich reading experience. Here she shares cooking tips and observations on MSG (“the links between MSG and sickness are not backed up by science,” she argues), making use of leftovers (“You must peel your carrots, scrub them thoroughly and save the peels,” to sauté them with soy sauce and sake as a side dish), and offers some terrific vegetarian dishes, such as tofu and walnut-stuffed mushrooms; happosai, a flavor-packed Buddhist riff on chop suey; a cashew tomato soup; and marinated fried eggplant. While home cooks will wish for more recipes, they’ll still take away a few new tricks for the kitchen and some spiritual insights. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/22/2019
Release date: 06/01/2019
Genre: Lifestyle
Open Ebook - 232 pages - 978-1-60868-583-7
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