quiet food


John Strydom, Quiet Food: A Recipe for Sanity, reviewed by Anterior Insight

As consumers increasingly turn their back on fast food – in light of films such as Morgan Spulock’s Supersize Me and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosse – in favour of healthier options, namely Fast Moving Gourmet Foods (FMGFs) and Slow Food, Anterior:Insight welcomes the arrival of the recipe book Quiet Food: A Recipe for Sanity. Written by John Strydom, Antony Osler, Christi van Loom, Angela Shaw and Claire Clark, the book introduces us to the possibility of making cooking and eating into meditative experience. It is the perfect antidote to the stresses and strains of Yuletide.

The Slow Food movement pleaded with us to slow down the eating process, cook meals lovingly and turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Quiet Food takes it a step further – it’s about food that has been given reverent attention. Developed over 25 years in the vegetarian kitchen of the Buddhist Retreat in South Africa, where people of all religions and none come to experience peace and tranquillity, this recipe book ‘gently challenges us not just to slow down, but also to experience the enchantment of preparing and consuming food,’ explains the retreat’s founder Louis van Loom.

His thinking is that consumers should bring a reflective, meditative dimension to these normally rushed and mundane activities. He says: ‘Just like a Japanese tea ceremony makes tea drinking into an inspired, contemplative experience. We make our kitchen into a sacred space where a treasure of vegetable ingredients is transformed into delicate tasty fare. Then we eat it mindfully, sometimes in silence, the better to savour its flavours. So we do more than preparing food and eating it: we celebrate it.’

The recipes featured are exceptionally flavoursome, nutritionally balanced vegetarian fare that has been honed to perfection by a multitude of cooks and housekeepers. But it is also simultaneously, food for the mind containing thought-provoking, often humourous ‘Zenecdotes’ that accompany the recipes. What’s more the recipes are really simple to follow for even the most hair-brained of chefs. This is more than just another recipe book – this certainly is food for thought.

Quiet Food: A Recipe for Sanity is available from Grub Street Publishing, priced £12.99

http://anterior-insight.com/trends_online_072.html © A:I December 2006