I was reminded today why I cook, why I work in the food industry, and what is important about this career. I watched a documentary called How to cook your life, it featured Edward Epse Brown, a Buddhist Monk Master and Chef, author of The Tassajara Bread Book, Tassajara Cooking, The Tassajara Recipe Book, and Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings. (Tassajara is the Zen Center where he works and teaches). The way he talks about food, and cooking in a Zen Center reminds me of my connection with Food and my Spirituality.
I cook for people because I want them to be healthy and happy through the food I provide. Yes, I do it in a large scale setting, but I do it for love and passion, not money. Money would be nice, it would be helpful to pay my bills and be out of debt. Because of that particular motivation, I lost sight of the more important value, spirit.
I decided I deserved to be promoted and I deserved to make more money, because of my time in the company, and what I perceived I had done for them. They perceived differently. I was rejected and told their perception of my performance. I was hurt and angry. Now, they are shuffling me into a position I don’t really want, and I have to find some good, some quality, and some understanding of why the Universe has put me there.
I’ve decided that the lesson is humility, and getting back to the basics of my understanding of why I provide food for people.
It is not an easy lesson; especially when co-workers ask why I am working the Salad Station on the buffet. I shrug, I say I don’t know, but I know I need to do this job with gratefulness, and mindfulness, and not with resentment and anger, because even if I am just filling up a bowl of lettuce on a buffet line, if I do it with negative connotations, that will translate to the food I am handling.
Brown pointed out the three tenants of Tenzo cooking; The joyful mind, the kind mind, and the grateful mind. I must utilize this on a daily basis. And maintain an attitude of gratefulness that I even have a job. And while doing that continue to look for a work environment that supports and upholds a similar philosophy to mine.