Why do we garnish our meal? Toppings considered as a decoration and usually put aside before eating. Writer Ban Ji-hyeon of a new essay on temple cuisine “Brunch with a monk” said toppings are a sign to indicate that the food is untouched and prepared for the person who is about to eat it.
Ban has met with monks and learned about temple cuisine after coming across it three years ago. “Many think temple foods have no taste because it doesn’t use meat,” said Ban in a phone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo. “But it is the food that anyone can enjoy as it maximizes the taste of ingredients.”
“I’ve never been a meat lover, but temple cuisine taught me how to value lives and changed my eating habits entirely. Now I am less interested in gastroventure and started to think about how ingredients are cooked in a meal.”
The author did not fill the essay with praise and awe for temple cuisine. She even skipped detailed recipes. Instead, she wrote her thoughts on meals that she cooked as if she is taking to a friend.
“None of the monks said bad things about the meals I cooked. They said burnt pancakes were crisply toasted. They were extremely focused on reasons and causes, yet so generous about results,” she wrote. “It took me some time to realize that food is a medicine that protects our body rather than a relish. They put health before palatability, which was why they were so focused on reasons.”
Taek Kyoon Sohn firstname.lastname@example.org