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When I was in college, I read the works of philosopher Alan Watts voraciously. One of his most delicious essays is “Murder in the Kitchen.” The essence of that essay is this: We kill other living creatures (which include plants) in order to sustain our own lives.

Therefore, since we “murder” our food, we should honor our kill by raising it in a ethically and environmentally responsible way--above all, we should cook food well and not be wasteful. In terms of vegetarians versus meat eaters, Watts quotes an unnamed Buddhist monk: “The only difference between killing plants and animals is that plants can’t scream.”

Creating and eating good food is both a pleasurable and sacred act. That’s why at each meal, I give thanks for the lives taken to sustain me and the hardworking men and women (many of whom are exploited) who did all the dirty work for me. And while I might not be an award-winning chef, I cook with relish, devotion, and a generous pinch of love.