How to Cook Your Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

How to Cook Your Life Reviews

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September 13, 2016
Our slightly older contemporary Kainei Edward Espé Brown (born March 24, 1945) is the subject of this beautiful documentary that Zilpha's cousin Bill sent us in advance of our visit this Fall to his and his wife June's home in the Pacific Northwest. Nothing could have made me more excited about our visit. Brown is the author of The Tassajara Bread Book, written at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, and is justly still influential.
February 12, 2012
Several delicious nuggets of wisdom on life.
February 22, 2011
Whereas I don't agree with everything in this movie, I loved watching it. And the food looked delicious. It's a nice change in nutritional documentaries; instead of highlighting the bad like Food inc, Supersize Me, Botany of Desire, etc, this one highlights the good in food. And Edward Brown just finds the little details of life so enjoyable, that you can't help but like him- especially watching his attempt to open prepackaged cheese.

But like I said, I don't agree with everyone. The scavenger, for example, who boasts about saving upwards of $800 a month because she dumpster dives and pulls fruit off of private trees was not something I would advertise, and I don't feel it belonged in this movie.
January 18, 2011
when you chop vegetables, you chop vegetables. when you stir the soup, you stir the soup. yes... let's live in the moment and be aware of what we do instead of just going through the motion.
½ July 4, 2010
Ufff, muy buena .. en mi opinion..
½ March 14, 2010
How To Waste Your Life. Is this guy for real?
Super Reviewer
½ February 4, 2010
Sure, documentaries are usually slow and uneventful, but they should be informative. Well, Doris Dorrie doesn't have much going on with informing in this picture.There is no clear point as to what this documentary is trying to be. Is it a film about food? Is it about cooking? Is it about religion? Supposedly, a handful of people are attending some sort of zen class with cooking, but after a brief shot of the day's schedule in the beginning, there is no indication of any schedule being followed. The film bounces around from topic to topic and it also momentarily switches to other people for interviews that seem to be on a tangent from what Chef Edward Brown is talking about.Chef Brown himself is very bland and monotonous in the way he talks. This makes this 90 minute picture extremely boring from beginning to end. He attempts humor from time to time, as he laughs at his own comments, but most, if not all, are very hard to find laughable.How to Cook Your Life does have a message that some will connect with; however, this film just does a bad job at conveying it.
½ January 1, 2010
If you value food, spirituality and teachings, this is a great, thoughtful, meditation on food preparation as a spiritual practice among other things about life and the living thereof...
½ December 20, 2009
edward espe brown, the main subject in this movie does an excellent job in making the incredibly interesting subjects of zen, cooking, and zen cooking, as boring and unappealing as possible. he does with through a combination of patronizing parroting of zen cliches and exposing a patheticness of personality. the fact that he talks about a word a minute also helps in making this lethargic parade of americanized zen platitudes a borefest.

the best parts of this movie are some archive footage of shunryo suzuki, and a couple of shots of a healthy produce in a garden...

favorite lowpoints:
when edward starts crying because something is dirty, when he strangles a piece of cheese, and his stupid "born again buddhist" t-shirt, worn without any sense of irony....

do yourself a favor... and skip it
December 2, 2009
slow moving but had lots of good information, think that Edward was a little crazy
½ August 26, 2009
grandpa what's for supper???
½ August 25, 2009
grandpa what's for supper????
August 19, 2009
This documentary was very inspiring.~ It shows how food is treated in a way that promotes spirituality-something people tend to forget when they're not mindful.
February 15, 2009
This was a decent documentary on Zen Buddhism and is not at all an instructional cooking video. Edward Espe Brown is known to most American Zen practitioners as the author of The Tassajara Bread Book. An ordained Soto priest, this documentary shows Brown with warts and all. In that sense I appreciated it for not being a polished, wishy-washy representation of Zen practice. While not the most entertaining experience in the world, I did appreciate it.
February 9, 2009
this was such a sweet doc and totally made me want to spend every weekend baking bread
December 30, 2008
Didn't know what this would be like, but I remained mildly interested. The information peppered around about the Zen center and Mr. Brown's early days as a young baker aren't particularly gripping, to be facetious. Neither are the brief, yet numerous introductions to persons like organic farmers or even students of Brown. These and other bits combine to make a less than vitally important documentary.

However, I don't want to be too harsh. It goes down easy. So for anyone unfamiliar with Zen, or as in my case one who has lost track of it over time while incessantly thinking, thinking, thinking myself into an unpleasant box of frustration, worry, and expectation, it's refreshing. I was not bored by this film. Some or much of it I simply wasn't terribly interested in, but it holds its share of daily wisdom. And there's something to be said for a Buddhist introduction to, or perception of, food.

Perhaps the most interesting segment for me occurs with Mr. Brown speaking about Western and Zen approaches to soil, as in gardening. The Western person approaches the soil with a list of objectives and an arsenal of means that are set to be employed in attaining said goals. The approach is simple, and probably seems pretty normal for us. The soil is going to do X for me, and I'm going to force it to do X. And it damned well better produce X after all this work that I AM doing, because if the soil fails then that's it. That is, the Western approach begins with the desired results, thereby setting itself up for shortcomings and failure, and the inherent suffering to follow. The Zen approach, on the other hand, begins with a respect for the soil, and the means to be carefully applied to the soil in order to help it be fruitful and productive. This probably could be better explained than as is by Mr. Brown, but the effect is clear: don't be so demanding! Don't become attached to expectations, because the world is going to work things out despite your efforts. This doesn't mean don't have expectations or goals, it just means develop a more compassionate approach, and a more open-minded reception.
December 1, 2008
I love documentaries about something really specific and slightly random -- like this one, about Zen and cooking. This Zen chef is quite a character, and there are some good lessons for use beyond the kitchen. Be warned, you'll end this movie with a desire to make loaves of braided bread. Even if you don't cook. Much. Like me.
October 1, 2008
interesting but wanted more advice and recipes and less deranged people eating garbage.
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