Review: “Just Enough”

Andrea Miller reviews “Just Enough: Vegan Recipes and Stories from Japan’s Buddhist Temples” by Gesshin Claire Greenwood.

Andrea Miller
28 May 2019

Just Enough: Vegan Recipes and Stories from Japan’s Buddhist Temples

By Gesshin Claire Greenwood
New World Library 2019; 232 pp., $17.95 (paper)

Oryoki, which means “just enough,” is a meditative form of serving and eating meals that’s practiced in Zen Buddhism. Highly ritualized, it involves each diner using their own set of nested bowls, with just a small amount of tasty food in each. For most lay practitioners, it isn’t feasible to practice oryoki in daily life, but according to Gesshin Claire Greenwood, if we adopt the spirit of oryoki, we can be fulfilled by less, and she isn’t simply speaking about food. Instead of constantly craving more food—or more money, more recognition, more love—we can plate our life differently and find satisfaction in what we already have. Just Enough is Greenwood’s memoir of learning to cook while living as a nun in a Zen monastery in Japan. It’s also a cookbook with recipes for such delicacies as daikon “steak,” dumplings, and tofu and walnut-stuffed mushrooms.

Andrea Miller

Andrea Miller

Andrea Miller is the editor of Lion’s Roar magazine. She’s the author of Awakening My Heart: Essays, Articles, and Interviews on the Buddhist Life, as well as the picture book The Day the Buddha Woke Up.