After several years of blood, sweat, and tears, the cookbook is finally complete. The cookbook, The Joy of an Empty Pot, has a hardcover with plastic comb binding so that it is both durable and will lie flat on the counter. It has 365 recipes and 245 pages.
This blog was started as a supplement to the cookbook. It became obvious when writing the cookbook that certain limitations introduced by the printer could be a problem. The lack of photographs was one of them. So we use a lot of photographs in this blog, probably too many. However, this may help to clarify some of the instructions and eliminate some confusion. Space limitations were also a problem. In the blog you will find variations of recipes from the cookbook that we simply did not have enough room to publish. You may also find some recipes that were not included in the cookbook.
You do not need to buy the cookbook in order to enjoy the recipes in this blog. And conversely, you can easily use the cookbook without referring to the blog. However, you may find that using them together will help to make your cooking experience run a little more smoothly.
Why is an Empty Pot Joyful?
Because if you look closely, you can see that it is not really empty. It is full of potential. The empty pot is always prepared to go to work. It sits patiently waiting to be called upon to do its duty. It is a symbol of always being ready to begin a new task. This not only applies to the pot, but also any frying pan, saucepan, or skillet in the kitchen that heeds the call to cook. It humbly accepts, without discrimination, whatever food it is given to prepare. It also represents the end of the preparation of a meal, and does not require any recognition for a job well done.
The Vichara Buddhist Monastery
The Vichara Monastery is a small independent monastery that is an offspring of the Zen tradition. It is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains near Yosemite National Park. Vichara was founded in 1969 in Long Beach, California, by Rev. Jay DuPont, Roshi. The original meditation center had a small dining room where members could have a vegetarian meal. We opened the dining room, because at that time it was difficult to order a vegetarian meal at a restaurant. If you wanted a good vegetarian meal, you usually had to make it yourself. In 1972 this monastery was established near Coulterville, California. It was not long afterwards that the meditation center in Long Beach was closed. At the monastery we continued to use many of the recipes from the dining room in Long Beach in addition to developing new ones. The cookbook and this blog are a collection of some of those recipes. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to support the Vichara Monastery.