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Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master's Lessons in Living a Life That Matters Paperback – 18 Jun 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 169 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications (18 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611800684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611800685
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 1.5 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 595,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Mills on 17 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bernie Glassman has managed to use Zen principles in everything he does. He is a business man first and foremost but manages to work with and for the local community. He describes Zen Buddhist principles and how he uses this guidance in his life and business model. I have often wondered how to use Buddhist principles in modern living........here is the answer. I enjoyed this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful book. Can't recommend it enough. It took a little while to come but it was still within the expected dates.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Cooking... but not cooking. Rather, a recipe for life. 29 Dec. 2013
By J. Berman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Guilty! I judged a book by its cover. I was in between titles, waiting for Ivan Ramen and the new Rene Redzpi, while I doggedly flopped through the new releases section at the local big-box book store. The title, Instructions to the Cook caught my attention and I bought it, unopened without even a glimpse at the back cover, a gander at page one or even a shot at the author bio.

And it isn’t a cook book. Or even a book on food. Joke is on me. Rather, it’s about life. And cooks need a little set of instructions now and then. “Cooking, like life, is about transformation. When we cook, we work directly with the elemental forces of fire and heat, water, metal, and clay. We put the lid on the pot and wait for the fire to transform the rice, or we mix the bread with yeast and put it in the oven to bake. There is something magical hidden, almost magical about it..”

I read Instructions to the Cook while still digesting The Back of the House about Tony Maws’s kitchen mystique and unpredictability. Instructions is the perfect follow-up; it worked well to sooth the fiery, vehemence that comes with running a world-class operation. And, again, it provided balance.

What we do, what we juggle, the fires we extinguish and often start, the pace at which we race, the physical trials we exercise, the demons we excise, all take their toll. And, as many cooks will tell you, burn-out is a reality. The intensity is akin to sprinting; it works in the short-term, but the pace can simply not be maintained. Something has to give. Our industry is ripe with abuses of many colors and flavors; and those abuses are just the start. We can take out that ferocious intensity on each other in the form of venom-laced tirades; unexpected terminations, often on a whim; suspension, if even momentarily, of that kitchen camaraderie that we all relish. All products of that unfiltered ferocity.

Glassman is not unknown in the culinary world, however. He is the founder of the Greyston Bakery, a staple in Yonkers, founded on the Zen belief of sustainability and enriching the lives of the people involved. The bakery is a burgeoning empire of its own and supporting community initiatives, low-income housing, health care and education.

A concise synopsis of the book can be found at [...] In essence, there are countless parallels in the art of finding the Zen way of living a full life and the ingredients that make up our kitchens, the morsels that make up the dishes we serve and the process that we call cooking. Unlike other pieces I have reviewed, I offer little in terms of the storyline and the content. Rather, for you cooks, Instructions to the Cook is a treatise; it is a guiding light on how to live. There are similarities with the boiling pot and troubles brewing, there are bits on cleaning the kitchen as discovery; the taste regions of the tongue as harmony; aspects of life as ingredients. “See the pot as your own head, see the water as your lifeblood.”
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Profound, Simple, Transformative 25 Oct. 2014
By Batya Swift Yasgur MA, MSW - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Roshi Bernie Glassman is a remarkable teacher and human being. I have enormous respect for him, and his contribution to peace and healing in the world. His work has had a profound impact on me. This book is an excellent presentation of Zen teachings, see through the lens of Bernie's experiences and perspectives as a peacemaker. I highly recommend it.
A treat for those who remember when Bernie Roshi was Tetsugan Sensei 18 May 2015
By Ken Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love this book. While only briefly (too briefly) I sat with then Tetsugan Sensei at their Riverdale NY retreat center,
In the summer of '83, I as a night baker trimmed and icinged those same double chocolate torts he mentions herein.
I recall in his Dharma talks, Sensei would often mention Dogens instructions to the Tenzo. To this day still, I am always disappointed to attend a retreat elsewhere, and discover the Tenzo has not actually picked stones from the lentils with tweezers.
But this book isn't a word for word translation of Dogen, more it's a high level, easy reading memoir and mission statement from those Riverdale NY years.
Incredible story and methods for being more mindful in everything we do. 1 Nov. 2013
By Andy S - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The subject of food takes up so much of our lives and, with today's myriad distractions and stresses compounded by the urgent need to be healthier in mind and body, a little guidance based upon incredible wisdom is a welcome strategy. I found this book to be incredibly useful, and it also vindicated my faith in human beings. A delightful, yet realistic, read.
'How-to" change the world 30 April 2014
By Cheryl L. Devecka - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not that we all don't inherently and intuitively know how to change the world, if we want to... nonetheless here is a simple, easy to digest story of how one man, with a little help from his friends, made and continues to make a difference. In a world where only the negative is newsworthy, this should be on the front page every day!
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