Food Forgotten Part VI – Shojin

The vegetarian style of cooking known as shojin ryori was later popularized by the Zen sect, and by the 15th century many of the foods and food ingredients eaten by Japanese today had already made their debut, for example, soy sauce (shoyu), miso tofu, and other products made from soybeans.

Around the same time, a formal and elaborate style of banquet cooking developed that was derived from the cuisine of the court aristocracy. Known as honzen ryori it is one of the three basic styles of Japanese cooking along with cha kaiseki ryori (the cuisine of the tea ceremony meal) and kaiseki ryori.

Sophistication is key: there are also five methods: raw, simmered, fried, steamed and roasted or grilled.

It becomes clear that the relationship between eating and emotion, human behavior and education is key in our connection with food. This relationship varies according to the particular characteristics of the individual, and according to the specific emotional state, or level of understanding and experience. There are both psychological and physiological factors that dictate the relationship we have between food, emotions and satisfaction.

Food’s necessary to maintain life but beyond that it is routinely connected with our idea of a social being. The brain releases b-endorphins, when we eat our favorite foods. In the end what we eat isn’t as important as the fact that we love eating it. The social aspects of food has always played an important role and will always as long as people respect the very nature of their roots. In the past the hierarchy of food was mostly based on tradition. Today food has been elevated to more of a superficial social status – hence the Pellegrino awards.

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