amatuer watercolourist, foodie, cook, traveller, all rolled into one. simple yet fun recipes accompanied by watercolour sketches.

Friday, January 19, 2007

alan watts on the perfect kitchen

There should be an ample central table of plain well-scrubbed wood which may be used both for eating and preparation; and at least in my ideal kitchen, strings of onion, sausages of hard salami, cheeses in wax or muslin, and basketed bottles of Spanish and Italian wine would hang from beams overhead. As no true lover of books would keep them hidden in cupboards, so the basic food supplies that need no refrigeration should not have their comforting presence concealed. Flour, sugar, salt, rice, and other grains should be kept in stoppered glass jars…Spices, canned goods, boxes, and bottles should adorn the walls on open shelves, covered only with sliding glass panels if protection from glass be necessary…. skillets and saucepans, together with such utensils as the pancake turner, cooking spoon and fork, strainers, skewers, and snail pans should dangle from well-ordered wall hooks and not be flung in drawers.



Allow no utensil in the kitchen that is not in some sense a work of art – not prettified stuff but exquisitely functional, such as the best wooden spoons from Italy, made from lemonwood, enameled casseroles from Sweden, Solingen kitchen knives, terra cotta bowls from Mexico, Revere ware or heavy copper saucepans from England, or a fine Chinese wok with its turner and spoon.

Alan Watts is to Zen Buddhism what Steve Jobs is to personal computers. He made it cool and accessible to the average man. Of the numerous books that he wrote, my favourites are 'This is it' and Does It Matter?'. The passages above are taken from the chapter 'Murder in the Kitchen' in the latter book. Alan Watts was said to have been an enthusiastic if not great cook and entertained the likes of Timothy Leary and D. T. Suzuki in his boathouse on Sausalito.

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