[Sca-cooks] OOP: Tentative Lunar New Year Menu

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Tue Jan 20 18:54:31 PST 2009

On Jan 20, 2009, at 7:47 PM, ranvaig at columbus.rr.com wrote:

>> To my understanding from a friend who is learning to be Buddhist,  
>> that
>> vegetarian meals are to be eaten in the first five days of the new  
>> year for
>> cleansing. No meat, fish, or poultry. Buddha's Delight is  
>> recommended for
>> those first 5 days. So I am assuming that maybe the added  
>> scallions, shrimp
>> and oyster sauce is a newer form under the name and possibly made for
>> everyday restaurant meals and not for a meal during one of 5 days  
>> after the
>> new year for a traditional Buddhist.
> I suspect this means that Adamantius and his family aren't Buddhist  
> and don't keep Buddhist rules, but was interested in why they kept  
> the name, when they add the seafood items.

My wife's family aren't practicing Buddhists. They're actually  
Presbyterians (which makes for some interesting dinner-table  
conversation right there, I can assure you, with the rude Catholic at  
the end of the table poking fun at Calvin and Knox, etc.) who, like  
most converted Chinese, have not given up their Taoist and Buddhist  
traditions, especially those which don't conflict with the Christian  

However, as it happens, just to show that it isn't just medieval  
Christians and Jews who get to argue about what they may or may not  
eat and whether that disqualifies you from membership in a given  
faith, here's a quote from the Buddha his ownself on the subject of  
meat and fish being eaten by Buddhist monks:


According to that source, they're not barred from eating meat or fish;  
they're primarily barred from killing meat or fish, or eating meat or  
fish that has been specifically killed for their benefit.

As far as I can tell, therefore, going to the butcher shop and buying,  
cooking and eating a steak is out, but one could argue that since  
dried seafood is a storehouse item not specifically killed for the  
monks to eat (the whole point of drying it being to extend its shelf- 
life and therefore broaden its versatility). Essentially, a piece of  
fresh meat from the butcher shop is a murdered animal, while dried  
shrimp, oysters, and scallops, are more like inert storehouse grocery  

I'm not saying this interpretation is logically unassailable, mind  
you, but it's not up to me, is it? I'm just reporting that the  
attitude is out there, and having lived all my life with Catholics who  
bent the rules about meat a bit during Lent, and with Jews who were  
not always fully observant of the rules for Kashrut, this doesn't come  
as a big surprise to me.

And the Jai really is much better, even with a little oyster sauce.  
Which, by the way, turns up frequently in a lot of Chinese vegetarian  
cooking, in spite of its animal base.



"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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