A Taste of Heaven and Earth

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Bettina Vitell is the founder of The Beat’n Path, one of New York’s first natural food restaurants. A Tenzo (head chef) trained at a Zen monastery in the Catskill Mountains, Vitell views the kitchen as a place of transformation, “a great workshop.” Her book promotes a Zen-based philosophy about the relationship between good food and good health. The author’s vegetarian dishes, created from uncomplicated recipes that stress fresh ingredients, reflect Vitell’s Zen thinking. Her goal—to present low dairy, satisfying meatless fare—is deliciously achieved in a blending of ingredients and flavors that are characteristic of both the East and West.

Vitell has selected a variety of dishes that seem to nurture the soul as well as the body. Recipes fall into the following areas: soups, pasta and grains, curries, Mexican tastes, sushi ideas, pizza and vegetable tarts, vegetable dishes, salads, sauces and salad dressings, breakfast ideas, and desserts. A sampling of dishes featured includes: Szechuan green beans and soba noodles, bruschetta with tomato and basil, huevos rancheros, and lemon tart with berries.

This cookbook includes menu suggestions, a glossary of ingredients, and two brief essays—one on Zen philosophy and the other on sensory awareness. It is enhanced with pen-and-ink style illustrations. An excellent feature is the clearly organized index. A TASTE OF HEAVEN AND EARTH is highly recommended to any reader interested in expanding their repertoire in and appreciation of meatless cooking.