A Zen priest in San Francisco and cookbook author use Zen Buddhism and cooking to relate to everyday life.
How To Cook Your Life is a cheerful documentary about the art of cooking and the art of cooking your life without burning it, putting too much salt in, or overcooking it. Doris Dörrie and the cooking Zen priest Edward Espe Brown demonstrate that eating is more than just an intake of food. Cooking is a festival of senses, and an act of love and generosity. During the summer of 2006, Doris Dörrie and her crew filmed Edward Brown teaching his cooking classes at the Buddhist centre, Scheibbs, in Austria, and the two Californian Buddhist centres, the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and the Zen Center in San Francisco, where he teaches people of all generations. His recipes are simple but rich in taste and aroma. How To Cook Your Life refrains from using any commentary. The camera is like a participant of the cooking courses. It captures the flour-covered wooden table, the dough, the radishes, oranges and carrots. One learns to understand the anatomy and liveliness of yeast as cakes, pizza, and bread are baked. The camera joins the lectures of Edward Espe Brown, which are based on the ancient tradition of Zen master Dogen, the founder of the Soto Zen School. As early as 1283, Dogen wrote a cookbook in which he encourages his readers to discover Buddha in simple kitchen chores, like washing the rice or kneading dough. Practical and entertaining, Edward Espe Brown knows how to translate those philosophical thoughts into today’s zeitgeist. What is the meaning of cooking and eating for the community and the individual? Is cooking a political act? How does cooking reflect our attitude toward life and the world? Edward Espe Brown is a happy priest, but for sure no saint; to him, the whole world can be found in a watermelon. In his pots, rivers and mountains are cooked. How To Cook Your Life can change your view on cooking, eating and your own life. You will never again cut your vegetables the way you used to.