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Tassajara Cooking-Rev Paperback – May 12, 1986


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (May 12, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394741935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394741932
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,367,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Rarely has a book of such simplicity underscored so well the joy of culinary discovery."— Bon Appetit --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Edward Espe Brown began cooking and practicing Zen in 1965. He was the first head resident cook at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center from 1967 to 1970. He later worked at the celebrated Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, serving as busboy, waiter, floor manager, wine buyer, cashier, host, and manager. Ordained a priest by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, he has taught meditation retreats and vegetarian cooking classes throughout North America and Europe. He is the author of several cookbooks and the editor of Not Always So, a book of lectures by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. He is the subject of the critically acclaimed 2007 film How to Cook Your Life. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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If you are afraid to cook this way, bypass this book.
simone
The book focuses on simple recipes using vegetables with grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, dairy, and eggs as enhancements.
AlwaysLearning
Love this - it is a basic recipe and then how to modify.
E Jane Clark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a how-to-cook, not what-to-cook book. Instead of individual recipes, the emphasis is on how to take ingredients and create tasty and appealing meals from them without much fuss. The book begins with a short chapter on knives and how to use them. It then moves on to various cooking methods, such as sautéing, and braising, before briefly listing common vegetables and their seasons. The main part of the book is organized into 3 sections: vegetables (ordered by season), other ingredients (fruits, nuts, grains, dairy, etc.) and combined foods (condiments, soups, sauces, and casseroles). The book closes with a brief section on caring for kitchen equipment.

Rather than specifying exact amounts, Brown describes the general idea for creating a recipe for each vegetable. He suggests several ingredients that might go well together with the vegetable at hand, and a cooking method, but it is left up to the reader to decide what ratios and amounts to use. One advantage of this approach is that the recipes can easily be scaled to feed one person or one hundred. Instead of specific cooking instructions, Brown draws the cook's attention to factors that may affect the taste or aesthetic qualities of the dish, and leaves it up to the cook to make the final decisions. The lack of specific amounts in many of the recipes might be disconcerting to some, especially those who are just starting out in the kitchen. Others will find Brown's approach liberating, and they may finally learn to cook, instead of just following recipes.

Although the recipes are entirely vegetarian, the book could be useful for anyone who regularly cooks vegetables. Some of the recipes call for dairy or eggs, but in many cases, Brown also suggests options that would be suitable for vegans. In addition to covering common Western vegetables, Brown includes suggestions for cooking some sea vegetables and other common Japanese ingredients like miso.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Tassajara is famous as the first Buddhist monestary outside of Asia. I believe it's in California. But you don't have to give a damn about Zen to get a lot of useful info out of this book. I like it because it is very basic. It teaches you how to cook, rather than just listing recipes. Some of the stuff may be a little too basic for the practiced chef, but most people have never learned the best way to saute or even slice an onion. My favorite part is the recipe for soup. No particular kind of soup, just a chart for making any sort of soup, based on what you have on hand!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Algernon D'Ammassa on June 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Maybe you are learning to cook by following recipes in good cook books, and (one hopes) varying from the recipes based on the ingredients at hand. This is a wonderful companion for the student chef - and very much worth a little time tracking a copy down second-hand. (The book is, sadly, out of print.)
The book is so friendly and accessible, with early editions including amateurish drawings and hand-printed messages, with such a playful (while certainly informative) tone, there is no intimidation. At the front of the book is a good orientation on knife care and safe chopping, as well as different styles of chopping (the "julienne" versus the "round cut," for example). The book is then organized into food groups, with chapters on basic ingredients essential for healthy (and tasty) vegetarian cooking. The facts about each vegetable, legume, or grain, and some very basic recipes to show how it might be prepared - with a strong encouragement to improvise!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "eibhinn" on January 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I picked this up at a used bookstore, with not very high hopes for it, and was I suprised. I feel like my "recipe books" are holding me back. Tassajara cooking teaches you to cook in a spontaneous and practical (using whatever you have in the fridge) manner. The Zen Buddhist perspective is refreshing. It is a fun book and you never have to worry about having the ingredients because the recipes are more vague guidelines for going insane in the kitchen. I used to get frustrated by things not turning out, now I know that everything turns out in its own way. This also has a section on cutting and knife-sharpening. Definately track this out-of-print book down!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kmt Fisher on November 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
Back when I was a teenager, in the early 1970's, I decided to become a vegetarian. I nearly gave up. There was no 'vegetarian option' on menus, and precious few vegetarian cookery books about either. I had two. One was a stern Mitteleuoropa tome heavily concerned with 'Food Reform', full of recipes utilising grated carrots and lots of nuts. The other was a macrobiotic tract which was more of a work of philosophy than a practical cookery book. Then along came this cheerful, laid-back Californian Zen monk who said "Hey, relax. It's really not that difficult. Just watch me." And that's what it's like. Watching someone cooking. There are very few cookery books which can take the place of a one-to-one lesson, and Tassajara Cooking is one of them. There aren't that many actual recipes, it's more a case of 'you've bought some... brown rice, brussel sprouts, lentils, whatever. Now, this is what you do with them...'
With the hindsight of thirty-five years, there are faults you could find. There is probably more in the way of fat, sugar and dairy products than most modern vegetarins would like. If your'e looking for precise recipes for particular dishes, this is not the book for you.
On the whole, though, these are minor quibbles. This is without doubt, a book which celebrates food, in a way that few others do. And it it is without doubt, the book I would recommend to a beginning cook, whether or not they were a vegetarian.
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