Ed Brown—former student of Suzuki Roshi and author of the Tassajara Bread Book—has practiced both Buddhism and cooking for over 40 years. This does not mean, however, that he’s always equanimous in the kitchen. In fact, in a profile a couple years back, Slashfood called Brown the “Angry Zen Chef.” How did he earn this nickname? By being unafraid to share and talk about his emotions—which at times can include a little anger, especially when people get in his way in the kitchen.
How to Cook Your Life, a documentary featuring Brown by filmmaker Doris Dörrie, opens with the Zen teacher telling his students that he is a human being. And like all human beings, Brown can get irritable, fed-up, and frustrated. At one point in the film he becomes annoyed when his students don’t know how much salt is required for a bread recipe being made. While this may seem a little excessive, Brown is clearly attempting to demonstrate an important point: our lives are to be discovered in the details. And, as Dogen suggests in his famous Instructions to the Cook, where are the details more apparent or important than when we’re preparing our food?
Watch How to Cook Your Life:
Film courtesy of Snag Learning
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.