SHOJIN RYORI, BUDDHIST VEGETARIAN CUISINE
It was 2014 when I wrote a piece called, “What We Can Learn from Shojin Ryori in Japan” for Zesterdaily.com. That site was unfortunately closed, and the article is no longer available. So, I am posting the article again on my blog because I want to keep this important message out and available to you. I have divided the article into five separate blog postings, adding some new content to each post, At the end of the fifth post is a recipe. Please make sure to make and enjoy this dish.
First Section: ‘Today we live in a world where many things have gone wrong with the diets of many people. These include inhumanely raised meat and poultry laden with antibiotics and hormones, and mass-made products laced with preservatives and artificial coloring and flavoring agents. Since these foods are cheap, convenient and readily available people may consume too much of them, contributing increasing problems with obesity in the population. These are complex problems with no quick and easy solution, but there is a path that we can take toward a better way of preparing and consuming our daily food.’
This was the lead 4 years ago to the Zesterdaily article. Today I will extend my warning to the emergence of plant and stem cell- based, synthetic protein products as a the latest in the development of artificial “Frankenfoods”. I also note, on the very positive side, that in the past several years the “clean food” movement has driven out many highly processed food products and artificial ingredients from food production. And reduced and managed use of antibiotics in animal farming has become more prevalent. The “clean food” movement continues to gather momentum and grow. That is good news for all of us!
‘Let us take a journey to search for the spirit of Shojin Ryori, the venerable Japanese vegetarian cuisine. The ideas behind this vegetarian cuisine were introduced by the Japanese Zen Buddhist monk Dogen in the 13th century after his studies of Zen Buddhism in China. Only monks at the temple followed the strictly vegetarian Shojin Ryori diet; the rest of the population depended on a diet of grains, seafood, legumes, vegetables and fruit. However, the spirit of Shojin Ryori deeply penetrated the lives and dining styles of ordinary people and became the backbone of Japanese food culture – why we eat, how we eat and what we eat.
Please come back to the post next week. You will find the Second section of this article.