Slow food and slow living is at the core of Food85. We believe in taking time to appreciate our food, the process of making and preparing our food and in experiencing gratefulness for ourfood through considering these processes.
Zen cooking is something we both admire and aspire to. We encountered zen cooking when learning how to make kimchi with Buddhist monks in Korea. Zen being the practice of finding awareness and enlightenment through meditation, intuition and self-contemplation. Buddhist monks apply this way of being through all aspects of their life, including cooking.
Recently, temple cuisine (a type of cuisine originating from Korean Buddhist temples) and a certain monk; Jeong Kwan, have made headlines for cooking "the most exquisite food in the world". These dishes aren't the type that are going to leave you achingly full, or yearning for more; Jeong explained to The New York Times that she believes “Food is meant to nourish your body and help your mind find enlightenment,”. Indulgence and greed doesn't lead to the type of nourishment Jeong is talking about. Instead, her food leaves guests "neither full nor hungry and, if anything, decidedly lighter and more energetic" according to Guardian writer Jonathan Thompson.
With Jeong Kwan as the poster monk for temple cuisine; the practice is also becoming more well known across the world. Edward Espe Brown is the Buddhist priest behind the documentary How to Cook Your Life, and author of several cookbooks. He runs workshops that focus intuitive cooking without recipes that encourage attention and a focus on senses. The method is mindful and considerate; with an emphasis on reducing waste and a paced, calm approach.
Whilst this may be less hands on; YouTube channel Silent Cooking is becoming a slow rise sensation. With 14,000 subscribers, the channel features cooking channels without the sometimes over enthusiastic host talking you through each step. Instead, you simply focus on the strangely hypnotic visuals and sounds of creating an incredible dish.
Though the idea of zen cooking and food that leaves you feeling "light" may sounds restrictive and disappointing to some, the evidence is pointing to the contrary. Critics and food fans are traveling 800 miles to attend workshops, or crossing continents and climbing mountains to try the legendary dishes of Jeong Kwan. Ye you don't even have to go that far. If you prefer the comfort of your own kitchen, there are ever growing recipes online; and just like mindfulness, it's about being present, in the moment and non-judgemental of your skills and methods.
Trust your senses, follow your intuition, enjoy every bite and finish your meal satisfied with every aspect of the experience.