How to Cook Your Life is a documentary about the adventures and ideas of ordained Zen priest, cook and bestselling food author Edward Espe Brown.
Brown is an ordained Zen priest and for many years a Tenzo (head cook) at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Centre. Brown has been actively involved with Zen and helping people further their Zen Practice. One would wonder what food and Zen Buddhism has to do with each other?
The Zen centre that Brown is involved in has a large focus on food with organic farming at their Green Gulch Farm and the creation a successful San Francisco restaurant, Greens Restaurant, which has been a premier vegetarian restaurant in the area for over 25 years. Brown has also written a book called, The Tassajara Bread Book.
How to cook your life focuses on Brown and his principles. He explains how integral food is to the guiding principles of Zen Buddhism, and how we can all go about using these principles in the way that we approach cooking and life in general.
Nirvana in the kitchen
We live in a world that is overloaded with media, processed 'ready in a minute' food and going through the motions in the kitchen, Brown uses Zen principles teach us to stop and pay attention to what we are doing and not just go through the motions.
Brown is not your stereotypical Zen priest, he is also temperamental, goofy, and altogether human. In the documentary Brown struggles with normal everyday tasks that we all encounter such as long queues at the supermarket, impossible packaging and slow cooks in the kitchen. This makes Brown relatable and shows how Zen can be applied in the kitchen.